He is what I filed with the OED earlier this week. It makes it clear the Sykes case was utterly corrupt, the ARDC is hopelessly corrupt and everyone needs to be fired there, and many, many lawyers need to be indicted. We need not mention names. Hundreds of you have filed perfectly valid complaints against (clouted) attorneys that were routinely dismissed and went no where. The JIB is a joke and rarely goes after judges who are even obviously corrupt.
You know I am after them, and apparently the ARDC now wants me to help honest citizens file complaint after complaint to all the authorities–the ARDC and JIB to see how many valid complaints can be dismissed, as well as the states attorneys and the FBI.
As for me, I sit in the catbird seat now just accumulating excuse after excuse to publish, or not to publish. Let them figure it out.
Both myself and Ken Ditkowsky now sit day after day listening to valid complaints and learning more and more about how they do it, how they get away with it and how far it goes.
The ARDC told us to do that with our forced vacations to reconsider their nefarious behavior, and we complied. Well, I think they thought we would both go away with our tail between our legs and whining, but that’s not us. We have tail feathers and we’re going to keep them, their clout and schemes and ledgerdermain not withstanding.
So here’s yet another response to the clouted authorities telling them the truth and I’m going to keep on telling the truth until we get all these psychopaths out of Illinois Govt. With the vast majority of our governors going to prison over the last few decades, what is there to lose?
IN THE UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE
OFFICE OF ENROLLMENT AND DISCIPLINE
|Respondent: Joanne Denison
Pat. Atty No. 34,150
Your File No. G2719
|Date of Deposit: October 11, 2106
I hereby certify that this paper or fee is being deposited with the United States Postal Service first class mail, postage prepaid under 37 CFR 1.8on the date indicated above and is addressed to Mail Stop OED PO Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450 Name: JoAnne M. DenisonSignature:__/esign/joannemdenison/______
To: Office of Enrollment and Discipline
Mil Stop OED PO Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450
Response to Communication Dated Aug 31, 2106
- Return Postcard
Please date stamp the enclosed postcard and place in the return mail.
Your prompt assistance is greatly appreciated.
JoAnne M. Denison,
Pat. Reg. No. 34, 150
IN THE UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE
|Respondent: Joanne Denison
Pat. Atty No. 34,150
Your File No. G2719
|Date of Deposit: October 11, 2106
I hereby certify that this paper or fee is being deposited with the United States Postal Service first class mail, postage prepaid under 37 CFR 1.8on the date indicated above and is addressed to Mail Stop OED PO Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450
Name: JoAnne M. Denison
RESPONSE TO NOTICE TO NOTICE TO RILE RESPONSE
TO 37 CFR SEC 11.24
This is in Response to your Notice of August 31, 2016 in which it was alleged that a violation of 37 CFR sec 11.24 occured when numerous posts were made on the blog http://www.marygsykes.com (“Subject Blog”) (https://marygsykes.com/) that constituted unethical conduct for an Illinois licensed attorney. However, even a cursory knowledge of the Subject Blog reveals that the content is true, the only witnesses the ARDC used during Respondent’s trial were those who have been accused by many probate corruption victims of engaging in felonious, highly unethical and immoral actions themselves. Numerous other probate blogs have confirmed the ARDC witness were not honest, ethical attorneys, and in fact, one main witness, Judge Jane Louise Stuart, would change her testimony right on the stand such that she would have a quick (but forced) retirement in 6 weeks. The other witnesses (Stern Farenga, Schmeidel) would testify that the blog in question, www.marygsykes.com was a lie but could point to no statements. The ARDC never did identify any blog statements that violated any ethical rules or the law regarding defamation. The Mary G Sykes guardianship case is one that involves the following: 1) lack of jurisdiction, Mary never served; 2) a judge admits she fixed the case and she could do it over and she would come to the same results; 3) a judge admits that if Mary’s doctor will not declare her incompetent, then find a doctor that will 4) a guardian that drills out a jointly held safe deposit without a court order and does not inventory the contents; 5) an appellate judge who is “taking care” of all of one litigants appeals–ie, they are being fixed for dismissal and it’s said in open court; 6) five trust accountings missing; 7) all discovery quashed on the guardian by both the trial court and the ARDC; 8) the younger daughters pleadings routinely stricken when she objects to lack of jurisdiction; 9) a judge changes her testimony and effectively admits she was lying–all deleted from the transcripts; 10) the transcripts of the ARDC trial are altered and the ARDC tribunal covers it up–etc. etc. Between 2009 and and the end of the ARDC trial, one trial court judge and one appellate court judge would be removed quickly from the bench,it is believed over this case. And finally, since unlicensed court reporters were used, the judgment against Respondent is not valid under Illinois law.
- Example of the protection of how the ARDC treats the Clouted Felonious Attorney in Illinois
For example in January of 2014, a clouted attorney, Seth Gillman stole not only $100 million in Medicare/Medicaid/Ill. Health Funds, but because the ARDC did not discipline him then, he went on to steal employee trust funds for FICA/FUTA, SocSec and Medicare. Numerous complaints were filed with the ARDC from January of 2014 up until the time of trial in February 2016 when Gillman was indicted. Every complaint filed against him by honest and ethical attorneys was returned with a letter that “he has not been convicted yet”; however, when an attorney is indicted they are almost immediately suspended. Not in the Gillman case, he was not suspended until he pled a deal with the FBI and turned on “the clout system” in Chicago. As soon as he turned state’s evidence and began to sing like a canary, the corrupt ARDC went after him. He pled early Feb. 2016 and by the end of February 2016, the ARDC filed a complaint against him (finally). But his employees lost thousands in health care, had no health care insurance and he took all their FICA and FUTA, social security and unemployment with him.
And, as we all know, Chicago is the city where City Attorneys have refused Federal Court judges and have delayed and defied them to turn over 20 police videos of innocent, unarmed, South Side citizens being gunned down out of spite, activism or racism. The is no doubt that there are serious problems with minimizing ethics plans by the Mayor, the ARDC and City attorneys, who, as long as they do what they are told, will never be fired or disciplined, no matter how unethical the behavior. Hence, Chicago and Illinois have a long standing tradition of corruption and the public is fed up.
As far as the undersigned is aware, no citizen has ever complained about her, only lauded her for her efforts to stem corruption in Chicago and Illinois.
- Prefatory Statement
Primarily it should be noted that the Subject Blog has nothing whatsoever to do with patent law or even intellectual property law. It is a blog about corruption in the Illinois court system and more particularly pertains to the probate court. It does not discuss patent matters at all and it does not focus on any intellectual property matters, except for the fact the Subject Blog is protected by a US copyright registration. What it focuses on is one of the most serious issues in the court system today–massive thefts of estates by lawyers and court appointed nursing home vendors in guardianship and probate court. It is not atypical for a $100k estate to be drained in a year; a $500k estate to be drained in a few years, etc. Even multi million dollar estates can be drained by tied in clouted nursing homes, lawyers and courtroom vendors in under 10 years. There is no reason why attorneys need to be paid $100k or $200k per year or even more, in simple guardianship and decedent’s estates.
Further, while it costs about $1500 per month to house a senior, but nursing homes typically bill medicare and medicaid $5k to $6k per month. And if there is an estate, it can be drained at the new MSRP of $15,000/ month for large estates. Doctor visits are drive bys, physical therapy is drugging an elder with illegal, FDA unapproved psychotropic drugs and propping the elderly up in a wheelchair for the day. Everyone wants to go home in a nursing home, but there are no investigations as to why the wealthy and elderly are there. Many family members want to take their loved ones home, but cannot.
- The decisions of the ARDC Tribunal and Review Board were politically motivated.
The undersigned vigorously contests the finding that unethical conduct occurred due to blog posts and she asserts that the blog in question, http://www.marygysykes.com is a blog concerning wrongdoing by certain judges and attorneys in Illinois, primarily. The blog is open to the public, and persons may post whatever comments and articles that they desire. The blog concerns primarily probate court where victims and their families are terrorized in court and the mantra is “target, guardianize, isolate, medicate (with illegal chemical restraints), drain the estate, quietly eliminate and cremate.” The blog is truthful and in the case of 09 P 4585, Circuit Court of Cook County, In re Mary G Sykes, this is the sad but truthful tale of what happened to Mary G. Sykes, an elderly widow between 90 and 95 years of age who complained that one of her daughters (Toerpe) had taken $4,000 without out authorization from one of her bank accounts. The banker recommended that she file for an Order of Protection, and when she did this, the perpetrator, Carolyn Sykes Toerpe, filed for guardianship against Mary and in December 2009, without serving Mary Sykes with 14 days advance notice of the time, date and place of hearing, as required by Illinois Law. Carolyn Toerpe, Mary Sykes older miscreant daughter that swiped the $4,000 (and many other funds) was appointed her guardian in one of the most horrific and underhanded fiascoes seen in any courtroom today. As for the Order of Protection, interestingly enough, it was found on a dusty shelf in Judge Flannery’s courtroom 2005 years later. Respondent was told that’s where files go when they are “taken off the docket”. I took pictures and the FBI was immediately informed. This scheme of taking unwanted proceedings off the docket apparently affected dozens of files and not just the 09 P 4585 Sykes case.
Two GAL were appointed by the court in the Probate Proceeding, a Cynthia Farenga and an Adam Stern. Adam Stern threatened another attorney in 2012, that if he investigated the case (Atty Kenneth Ditkowsky), Stern would have him disbarred. Atty Kenneth Ditkowsky, while all he did was repeatedly ask the authorities to investigate case 09 P 4585, was subsequently disciplined by the Illinois Atty Regn and Discipline Commission and he was suspended for 4 years from the practice of law–all for trying to protect Mary Sykes from her estate being drained, $1 million is assets disappeared from a safe deposit box, all discovery covered up at both the 09 P 4585 proceeding and at the ARDC 13 PR 001 hearing. He merely wrote letters to her doctor, her friends, everywhere–to find out what was happening in the Mary Sykes case–an activity which is apparently verbotten in the Cook County Probate Division, though it is required under law by Rule 11 in Federal court and Rule 127 in State Court.
Mary G. Sykes was not incompetent at the time she was guardianized. Videos posted on Vimeo.com show that she was lucid, clear thinking and had higher cognitive abilties. (https://vimeo.com/38694743) She knew the objects of her bounty and had made provision for them. In fact, in or about December of 2009 she attended one of her card club sessions, played the complex card game Canasta, and beat the pants off other persons that attended the game.
The blog, http://www.marygsykes.com did not start until November of 2011. Ms. Denison, at no time had been counsel for Mary G. Sykes. She did attempt to represent the younger daughter, Gloria Sykes, back in December of 2009, but was disqualified by the Court. She also was threatened by the court that if she attempted to represent Gloria Sykes at any time during the process to appoint a guardian, she would be disbarred. Ms. Denison filed her Appearance and filed Pleadings to represent Ms. Gloria Sykes, and copies of those pleadings can be found in the ROA on the Subject Blog (cite) . The court eventually denied her Motion to represent Ms. Sykes, and Ms. Denison did not in fact represent her during the entire court proceeding.
- Case Summary–the Sad Tale of the Guardianship of Mary G Sykes:
In the Mary G. Sykes case, a majority of the family members and 20+ close friends of Mary Sykes contended:
1) the probate case 09 P 4585 was without jurisdiction because neither Mary G. Sykes nor her two elderly sisters, Yolanda Bakken and Josephine DiPietro had been served with the necessary time, date and place of hearing 14 days in advance, as required by Illinois law (In re Ralph Sodini, https://www.courtlistener.com/opinion/2091244/in-re-guardianship-of-sodini/.
An affidavit from the younger daughter Gloria Sykes completely verifies what is said in this pleading and what was said to the ARDC Tribunal regarding the Sykes Case: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6FbJzwtHocwQi1zQlJzZXc3U0k. In addition the complete Record on Appeal for the Sykes case 09 P 4585 may be found here:
The Record on Appeal for the Denison 13 PR 01 case may be found here:
The Decision from the Tribunal may be found here
The Decision from the Review Board may be found here:
It is interesting to note that on page 1 of the Review Board Decision, they agreed with the Tribunal that Responded “was not afforded” any First Amendment rights for her blogging activity. On page 28 of the Tribunal decision, they said that a lawyer can criticize a judge or ruling. But then, they go back and relitigate the Sykes case and say that the judges and lawyers involved were improperly criticized, when in fact it is known that over $160k was taken in attorneys fees, Mary’s home was in fact sold for pennies on the dollar, hundreds of thousands of dollars in valuable coins are still missing and uninvestigated by the ARDC (and shown from the past actions of the ARDC they will not investigate until the lawyer involved turn state’s evidence), and Mary was never served summons and complaint and her elderly sisters were never notified of the date, time and place for hearing 14 days in advance thereof. In one fell swoop, the ARDC grants the rights to criticize a lawyer, a judge, a decision and a court, but the very next statement they take it away by saying they have decided in the Sykes case there were “no problems” and therefore no right to criticize. Which is it?
If the Sykes case were not troubled, then why were two crucial citizen witnesses barred from testifying (Gloria and Scott), and two others testified there were serious problems in the Sykes case 09 P 4585 (Kathie and Yolanda)?
The ARDC tried to keep the testimony of Gloria, Scott, Kathie and Yolanda from coming into the case as much as they could, yet the following depositions were taken by Respondent and form part of the Record on Appeal:
Deposition of Yolanda Bakken – p 1980
Deposition of Kathleen Bakken – p1989, same link
Deposition of Scott Evans: – p 2009 https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B6FbJzwtHocwMFZtZzFhTDk0UTA
Deposition of Gloria Sykes:p 2037, same link.
2) that a bag containing hundreds of thousands of dollars in valuable gold and silver coins was missing from the estate and never inventoried. All of the court, the GAL’s Stern and Farenga, counsel to Carolyn Toerpe–Peter Schmeidel, Harvey Waller, Deborah Jo Soehlig persisted, even to this day, to tell the court that the coins were imaginary and they quashed every single motion that Gloria Sykes brought to find the coins. At the ARDC trial of Ms. Denison, it would be found out that in fact a safe deposit box owned by Gloria and Mary Sykes was drilled out by Carolyn Toerpe, the contents emptied and not inventoried. The Plenary Guardian Toerpe (“Guardian Toerpe”) had the safe deposit box drilled out soon after she was appointed (April 2010) and never told the court about the drilling of the safe deposit box, and she never filed any Notice and Complaint to Partition the Safe Deposit Box, allowed the matter to be set for Discovery and Hearing on the matter, thereby violating the 5th amendment right to due process, 4th Amendment right of illegal seizure of property of both Mary G. Sykes and Gloria Sykes, the owners of the box. In addition, they repeatedly quashed discovery on the matter, as well as litigation counsel to the ARDC such that it took until January of 2014 before some of the documents arrived from the bank that the safe deposit box had in fact been drilled out and the contents emptied but never inventoried by the Guardian, as required under Illinois law. The video from the vault has not been retrieved, and neither the person in the vault area or the banker who talked with Mary have been interviewed or deposed in either the probate proceeding or in the ARDC proceeding.
3) Gloria Sykes held the last valid Power of Attorney for Health Care for her mother. In this Power of Attorney she was to be appointed a guardian if one was required. (https://drive.google.com/open?id=1jvLWwBbUZKmnW4m048F-XAfw_cZ7SJUCAikqyuUyp8abUG0EcxIiNQcXK60B). p.783. However, without Notice, Discovery and setting the matter for Hearing, the court summarily issued an order terminating the POA of Gloria Sykes, all in derogation of Illinois Law which requires that a POA be terminated only when the Principal cannot control the POA and that actions have been taken inconsistent with the POA and that damage has or may occur to the person or property of the Principal. (see, 755 ILCS 45/2-10). None of that ever happened. All this has been published on the Subject Blog.
4) that assets properly belonging to Gloria Sykes were seized by the court without Notice, Discovery or Hearing, all in violation of the 4th amendment rights of Gloria Sykes. Gloria owned a home adjacent her mother’s home which had been damaged heavily by mold. Litigation ensued over the damages owed Gloria Sykes for damage to her person and property from the mold. Gloria developed breast cancer from the mold. All the contents of her home at 6016 N Avondale in Chicago were hers. The insurance was contracted for by Gloria and she paid the premiums. The miscreants in the 09 P 4585 case, again, without Notice, Discovery or Hearing on the issue froze the assets, Judge Stuart then chained Gloria to a chair in her ante room, threatened her pets with euthanization at the city pound, and then forced Gloria to disclose the location of those assets, which were, by the way, located out of State in Indiana. The $200,000 seized was primarily used to pay attorneys fees and never in fact went to provide any care for Mary.
5) In July of 2014, Mary was located by concerned family and friends in a place she never wanted to go, a nursing home. Ms. Denison had known Mary and Gloria for years and was a long time family friend and neighbor of both Mary and Gloria Sykes. Mary knew where she was and implored Gloria to take her home, but she understood that Carolyn had a) sold her home and had control of her money; b) had done so on a deceptive basis; c) knew it was Carolyn who had forced her into the nursing home against her will. Again, Mary Sykes was lucid, clear thinking and could reason on a higher cognitive level. (Mary had written numerous letters to the court and to the GAL’s, all of which were ignored. see https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6FbJzwtHocwTzlQMkJ2eVZVUVk. When the GAL’s contented that Mary was just parroting what Gloria had said, Gloria took a lengthy video of Mary writing these letters, begging for help and to get out of the guardianship–all of which were ignored. see https://vimeo.com/38695647 )
During a meeting with Mary Sykes in July 2014, Ms. Denison, with the permission of everyone present, including Mary, took a 40 minute video of Mary speaking about the case and how she wanted to go home with Gloria and how Gloria was not to worry, “they could just start over”. After Adam Stern spoke with the Naperville Police officer who was sent over to “investigate”, the Naperville police officer asked Respondent and others to destroy photos and videos of Mary and everyone complied under threat of arrest, despite the fact it is unconstitutional for law enforcement to destroy photos and evidence in general, and this was special evidence needed to show how Mary Sykes was competent even in July of 2014.
6) Mary’s Power of Attorney, supra, granted to Gloria Sykes indicated she wanted to live in her home until she died and have her two daughters care for her there. Mary lived in Norwood Park in Chicago since the 1950’s. She was active, even at age 90, in many clubs and social organizations. Carolyn Toerpe had her removed from Mary’s home in Norwood Park and took her, against her will, to Carolyn’s home in Naperville (about a half hour expressway drive away) where she was isolated against her will.
7) Tragically, on May 23, 2015, Mary was narcotized to death in a nursing home. Gloria Sykes, a beloved, dedicated daughter, was told at 3 pm to come and see her mother “for about an hour” because she was dying. When Gloria arrived, her mother was so heavily drugged (illegally chemically restrained), she could not even speak. When Gloria asked why her mother was in such a condition, she was told her mother was dying “from dementia”. The very next day, Guardian Toerpe took Mary’s body to a local funeral home, Suerth Funeral Home in Norwood Park, Chicago and told the funeral director to embalm Mary while Carolyn waited, and then she was to be immediately interred. To date, Mary Sykes has still not been autopsied and no tox screen has be permitted by any court or the ARDC. The ARDC still refuses to open an honest, thorough and complete investigation of the Mary Sykes 09 P 4585 case. Instead, it has gone after honest attorneys, myself and Ken Ditkowsky who have related to both the public and the authorities all of the judicial and lawyer wrongdoing in the case. Thus far, there has been no accountability for these nefarious actions.
None of Stuart, Schmeidel, Stern or Farenga told the truth about the Mary G. Sykes case. Mary G. Sykes never received a hearing, she was not served with a Summons or Petition for Guardianship, she never attended the December 7, 2009 hearing and was not told about it. Then, her home was sold and liquidated. Gloria’s insurance monies for her suffering breast cancer and her home being destroyed by black mold after ice damming was improperly repaired, some $200,000 was also added to Mary’s Guardianship estate to pay its legal bills since Mary’s cash funds were very low at the time. What the ARDC, the Tribunal and the Review Board wanted to keep from becoming public–that all of Mary’s hard earned assets (she worked as a seamstress for years, her husband Charles was a Sergeant in the Chicago Police Department), some $200,000+ would all go to attorneys Schmeidel, Stern and Farenga in a most shameful act. The ARDC, the Tribunal and the Review Board all claim that what happened to Mary and Gloria Sykes was not illegal, unethical and dishonest–but in fact it was.
The Blogs of Respondent only tell the truth. Gloria Sykes, a renown and award winning investigative news reporter, also tells the truth. Scott Evans, a long time family friend and retired military intelligence analyst with the highest security level ratings in the US government, also would have told the truth on the stand, but they were actively prevented from doing so by the ARDC and the Tribunal. Kathie and Yolanda Bakken, both disabled, came to court and told the truth about Mary Sykes, and her case, and that truth was ignored by the Tribunal. As a result, Mary’s last directives were never carried out, Gloria was never appointed her Guardian to live with her and care for her as she had done for 10 years prior to 2009, Mary was isolated from 20+ friends and family in Naperville for over 5 years, she never saw her Garden Club or card club again. Instead she was put in adult day care with low functioning adults, then a nursing home– a place she never wanted to be, and then she would be drugged to death without any court order or medical diagnosis of a severe illness requiring she die by narcotics–again, a situation that Mary as a devout Roman Catholic would never consent to, and in fact it was not part of her final directives. (see Power of Attorney, infra) The actions of Carolyn Toerpe in denying Mary a proper funeral, last rites by her Catholic Priest, the refusal for an autopsy and a tox screen–all point to the same result. The Blog in fact told the truth and continues to tell the Truth. The Blog is not frivolous or ancillary, it teaches the Truth about Probate and that “target, guardianize, isolate, medicate, drain the estate then quickly and quietly eliminate” is not the law. It is not part of the Illinois Probate Act. But people have to appear in probate court pro se all the time. And all they are told is that “target, guardianize, medicate, drain the estate and then eliminate and cremate” is the the law when it is not, the Illinois Probate Act is the law, which does not permit any of these felonious shenanigans.
The Tribunal and Review Board Decisions consistently ignored the following State and Federal Statutes which protect Respondent’s blogging activities. They treated these laws as if they did not exist:
- a) 320 ILCS § 20 for reporting elder abuse and providing immunity therefore
- b) 42 USC § 12203 prohibiting retaliation for protecting an Elder under the ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act;
- c) 750 ILCS sec. 110-½ or the Illinois Citizens Participation Act which protects Citizens from wrongful First Amendment retaliation was rubber stamped by the Tribunal against Respondent’s First Amendment rights, which again, the Tribunal did not believe existed. see http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/anti-slapp-law-illinois for detais of the CPA in Illinois.
- c) 75 ILCS 5/8-901 to 8-909 Illinois Reporter’s Privilege Act to protect sources and allow Gloria to testify even if she did not want to turn over 20,000+ emails to the ARDC,
- d) 47 USC § 230 or the Internet Decency Act which protects bloggers from liability and provides a mechanism to be followed for removing offensive posts–an action neither Stern, Farenga or Schmeidel have taken nor the ARDC. Those provisions were not enacted by the US Congress to be ignored or treated as suggestions, but they are mandates to be followed by our legislators that took care to pass these statutes.
There are also the following legal defenses to any claims of libel, defamation or false light: Innocent construction,fair reporting privilege, substantial truth, opinion, hyperbole, fair comment privilege. (See Digital Media Project, Illinois http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/illinois-defamation-law ) The Tribunal from the outset stated that these defenses “may or may not apply.” The Tribunal from the outset stated the First Amendment is not applicable to attorney discipline, even though landmark cases including, but not limited to Sawyer, Garrison and many others, have clearly state that all attorneys do in fact have First Amendment Rights.
- Brief Argument that the decisions were wrongful and politically motivated
None of Stuart, Schmeidel, Stern or Farenga told the truth about the Mary G. Sykes case during the Tribunal Hearing. Mary G. Sykes never received a guardianship hearing, she was not served with a Summons or Petition for Guardianship, she never attended the December 7, 2009 hearing and was not told about it. Then, her home was sold and liquidated, presumably for pennies on the dollar. Of course, the final amount is not known because the “special treatment” Plenary Guardian never filed a Trust Accounting with the Probate Court, despite the fact those funds had been commingled since the Guardianship Estate was first opened. Gloria’s insurance monies for her suffering breast cancer and her home being destroyed by black mold after ice damming was improperly repaired, some $200,000 was also added to the estate. What the ARDC, the Tribunal and the Review Board wanted to keep from becoming public–that all of Mary’s hard earned assets (she worked as a seamstress for years, her husband Charles was a Sergeant in the Chicago Police Department), some $150,000 would all go to attorneys Schmeidel, Stern and Farenga in a most shameful act. The ARDC, the Tribunal and the Review Board all claim that what happened to Mary and Gloria Sykes was not illegal, unethical and dishonest–but in fact it was.
The Blogs of Respondent only tell the truth. Gloria Sykes, a renown and award winning investigative news reporter, also tells the truth. Scott Evans, a long time family friend and retired military intelligence analyst with the highest security level ratings in the US government, also would have told the truth on the stand, but they were actively prevented from doing so by the ARDC and the Tribunal. Kathie and Yolanda Bakken, both disabled, came to court and told the truth about Mary Sykes, and her case, and that truth was ignored by the Tribunal. As a result, Mary’s last directives were never carried out, Gloria was never appointed her Guardian to live with her and care for her as she had done for 10 years prior to 2009, Mary was isolated from 20+ friends and family in Naperville, never to see her Garden Club or card club again, instead she was put in adult day care with a number of very low functioning adults, then a nursing home– a place she never wanted to be, and then she would be drugged to death without any medical diagnosis of a severe illness requiring she die by narcotics–again, a situation that Mary as a practicing Roman Catholic would never consent to, and in fact it was not part of her final directives. The actions of Guardian Carolyn Toerpe in denying her own Mother Mary a proper funeral, last rites by her Catholic Priest, the refusal for an autopsy and a tox screen–all point to the same result. The Blog in fact told the truth and continues to tell the Truth. The Blog is not frivolous or ancillary, it teaches the Truth about Probate and that “target, guardianize, isolate, medicate, drain the estate then quickly and quietly eliminate” is not the law. It is not part of the Illinois Probate Act.
The Tribunal and Review Board consistently ignored the following State and Federal Statutes which protect Respondent’s blogging activities. They treated these laws as if they did not exist:
- a) 320 ILCS § 20 for reporting elder abuse and receiving immunity therefore;
- b) 42 USC § 12203 prohibiting retaliation for protecting an Elder under the Act;
- c) 75 ILCS § 5/8-901 to 8-909 Illinois Reporter’s Privilege Act to protect sources and allow Gloria to testify even if she did not want to turn over 20,000+ emails to the ARDC, d) 47 USC § 230 or the Internet Decency Act which protects bloggers from liability, and;
- e) 750 ILCS § 110-1/2 or the Citizen’s Participation Act which provides immunity for suits where citizens have created speech protected by the First Amendment.
Those provisions were not enacted by the US Congress or the Illinois State Legislature to be ignored or treated as suggestions, but they are mandates to be followed by every Illinois and US citizen which were passed by our legislators that took care to implement these laws that protect our freedom and democracy.
In its decisions, the ARDC and Tribunal and Hearing Boards consistently misrepresented case law. A proper listing of relevant Free Speech cases is attached hereto as Exhibit A, filed in the Writ of Cert by Kenneth Ditkowsky in a companion case.
Alvarez –fails to cite the correct standard of when and how government may regulate speech under the First Amendment (content oriented speech is always protected, even if it is false). Alvarez won his case, despite the fact he completely lied to a wide range of individuals that he was granted a Medal of Honor. Garrison v. Louisiana – the Review Board fails to cite the correct standard and attorney Garrison won the case, despite the fact he was the counsel of record at the time the statements were made. Respondent stands as an independent citizen and blogger to the Sykes case. She never appeared on the case. She appealed her disqualification and Justice Bernstein denied the appeal. Only problem, Justice James R. Epstein also denied Gloria’s other four appeals, Attorney Schmeidel bragged about it to the trial court judge (who did nothing about his admission of fixing cases), and Respondent reported it on her blogs and to the FBI and now Justice Epstein no longer sits on any Illinois Court of Appeals.. In addition, numerous recent cases are not cited by the ARDC which more closely resemble the current position of the US Supreme Court–Citizen’s United, Loving v. IRS, Ashcroft v. ACLU, Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, Gentile, In re Karavidas, Peel v. ARDC, Snyder v. Phelps, etc.. and In re Weddington, citations attached hereto. The Review Board also failed to consider the Articles by Leslie Salzman, Rethinking Guardianship (again): Substituted Decision Making as a Violation of the Integration Mandate of Title II of the ADA, 81 U. Colo. L. Rev (2010) and The truth be Damned: the First Amendment Attorney Speech and Judicial Repudiation by Margaret Tarkington of the Indiana School of Law, Indianapolis, Indiana.
- Case Law Updates:
A more recent article appeared in the Harvard law review at Vol 128:p 183 by Paul Sherman, a senior attorney at the Institute of Justice wrote “Occupational Speech and the First Amendment” which concluded that attorneys should have full First Amendment protection for their emails and blogs. This article was based upon the case of Rosemond v. the Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology (Rosemond v. Markham, 13 CV 42, doct # 48, Memorandum Opinion and Order wherein this court concluded that the Board of Psychologist Examiners had no jurisdiction to regulate Mr. Rosemont’s blog/newspaper column and it was fully protected by the First Amendment. http://ij.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Memorandum-Opinion-Order-IJ072926xA6322.pdf for full case decision.
Likewise, in the case of In re Marriage of Weddigen, 2015 IL.App. (4th) 150044 http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/Opinions/AppellateCourt/2015/4thDistrict/4150044.pdf makes it clear that Mr. Weddigen’s posts on his blog about his court proceedings were in fact protected by the First Amendment, and the trial court judge was wrong to issue gag orders, or request an apology from Mr. Weddigen for speaking out about his divorce case. The 4th District Illinois Judges made it clear that blogs were to be protected under the First Amendment, and the order of contempt, the purge order and the order requiring respondent to pay petitioner’s attorneys fees were all reversed and remanded with instruction to provide full First Amendment protection to the respondent’s Face book pages. Id. The ARDC, the Tribunal and the Review Board consistently refuse to cite appellate law cases, but instead cling to their own decisions made at the ARDC trial court level – a method not approved of by either the Harvard BlueBook Rules of Citation (http://today.law.harvard.edu/harvard-law-review-launches-online-version-of-the-bluebook/ ) or the Standford Red Book Rules of Citation (http://web.stanford.edu/group/slpr/guides/Old/SLPR_Redbook.pdf ).
The recent Illinois case of In re Marriage of Weddigen, 2015 IL.App. (4th) 150044 http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/Opinions/AppellateCourt/2015/4thDistrict/4150044.pdf makes it clear that Mr. Weddigen’s posts on his blog about his court proceedings were in fact protected by the First Amendment, and the trial court judge was wrong to issue gag orders, request an apology from Mr. Weddigen for speaking out about his divorce case. The 4th District Illinois concurring Justice made it clear that blogs were to be protected under the First Amendment, and the order of contempt, the purge order and the order requiring respondent to pay petitioner’s attorneys fees were all reversed and remanded with instruction to provide full First Amendment protection to the respondent’s Face book pages. Id.
F Conclusion of ARDC/Mary Sykes Trials
Mary Sykes is now dead and since 2009, no one had done anything to prevent her death–from the ARDC to the Tribunal to the Review Board to the dozens of times it was reported to the FBI. Dozens of attorneys in positions of power to order investigations, demand Truth and Justice, and all looked the other way while Mary and Gloria Sykes were fleeced of $300,000, plus nearly $1 million in valuable coins, all discovery quashed, all justice quashed. Mary was further isolated from her beloved Daughter Gloria and 20+ former friends and family, her Norwood Park Garden Club, her card club–all her former activities. She was placed in adult day care with low functioning adults in Naperville instead when in fact she was very high functioning from Dec. 2009 to when she was last seen by her friends and family in July of 2014 when the police illegally destroyed some 45 mins. of video footage. Despite the fact she was capable of planning gardens, growing seedlings and planting them in the local community garden, playing cards from Rummy to Canasta and Bridge and beating the others she was railroaded in a guardianship without a hearing. Numerous blog posts on the internet document her guardianship “by deal” between Carolyn Toerpe and Stern and Farenga–no hearing on her competency was ever allowed. No discovery prior to guardianship was allowed. The Illinois Probate Act mandates a hearing and the hearing cannot be waived. The IPA also mandates the disabled person be served only by the Cook County Sheriff or a duly Licensed Process server, which never happened.
Attorneys Stern, Farenga and Schmeidel admit on the stand they only saw Mary either for a few minutes or not at all (Schmeidel) in 5 years of guardianship. In June of 2014, she was visited by Respondent, Gloria Sykes, the younger daughter and two close friends Scott Evans and Dolores Evans who had known her for 50 years + and each witness found her extremely competent with higher cognitive level thinking. Respondent had known Mary and Gloria Sykes since about 2005 and frequently walked dogs together and attended parties thrown by Gloria and Mary for all holidays, summer parties and birthdays. In Dec of 2009, Mary Sykes was shown as being extremely competent with higher level thinking and reasoning in this Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/38694743 a Vimeo the Tribunal would refuse to watch, yet numerous probate judges have and have said she is competent.
During Respondent’s ARDC hearing it was brought out that Mary did in fact have a safe deposit box, and the box was drilled out by Carolyn Toerpe, shortly after she was appointed guardian. The box was emptied and the contents never reported. The ARDC quashed discovery of further information, including video taped evidence of who entered the vault area and what they took out.
The GAL’s say that there were no valuables in the box, but they refuse to allow discovery upon Carolyn or any other third parties who may be witnesses. Gloria Sykes has numerous receipts for gold coins bought by her father Charles Sykes. Others in the family have seen the gold coins. Yet both the ARDC and the GAL’s and Soehlig and Schmeidel crush discovery at every chance possible.
The mantra of “target, isolate, medicate, drain the estate and quickly cremate when the money runs out” cannot continue to be the unofficial slogan of the 18th floor of the Daley center. The current conditions demand a Federal Monitor at all times, they demand that the Illinois Supreme Court order the ARDC to file its Ethics Reports as mandated by the Illinois Ethics Reporting Act of 2009, as well as the OPG or Office of Public Guardian and allow Denison to serve discovery on all questionable mortgage payments for any Illinois GAL or probate attorney, any OPG attorney, and most of all, the ARDC and Jerome Larkin and Melissa Smart.
Further, the Illinois Supreme Court should have declared Denison a whistleblower and should have protected her. A listing of proper case citations (not the misleading ones cited by the ARDC) is further attached hereto at Exhibit A in support of this Petition.. Copies of the Reports of the Decision of the Tribunal and Hearing Board are also attached hereto.
- Synopsis of Infirmity of Judgment by ARDC
- i) The procedure completely lacked in notice and opportunity to be heard
- Witnesses improperly struck
During the entire ARDC pre trial procedure, a) all of Respondent’s expert witnesses – 5 of them, were stricken by the Tribunal as “not necessary” and the “Tribunal will decide what, if any experts to be used.” This is absolutely preposterous and is not the standard for a court to strike expert witnesses. All of the witnesses were carefully chosen, each owned or operated a major probate blog or TV show (NASGA, Probate Sharks, Cooper’s Corner). No one on the Tribunal knew anything about probate blogs and, it is believed, had not run a blog in their entire lives! All of the bloggers and probate blogs knew Gloria Sykes and her struggles to protect her own dear mother which ultimately failed. Other major witnesses were stricken–Gloria Sykes, the younger daughter because “she would not turn over some 20,000 emails since Dec 2009,” yet no other witness on either side had to turn over a single email. Gloria claimed attorney client privilege and Illinois Reporter’s act privilege. The real unspoken problem is because Gloria was an award winning investigative reporter she might have superior credibility. Scott Evans was also stricken ostensibly because he knew that “one lawyer was claiming $150,000 in fees”, because earlier witnesses “must have told him this”, yet everyone knew since the beginning of the case that some $150k to $200k was being claimed as attorneys fees in the case by Schmeidel. The real reason? Scot Evans took copious accurate notes during almost all the court proceedings and he further had Top Secret Clearance being in Army Intelligence, retired.
- The vast majority of Written Discovery is Stricken or not permitted
In addition, all Interrogatories were voluntarily withdrawn because the ARDC Rules do not permit interrogatories to be served. (https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6FbJzwtHocwRjN3dTV0Si1NcUE) p. 52. Only a handful of Requests to Admit were Answered, and most of these were answered in a highly deficient manner (see, requests for admission, p 2248 of
Discovery Procedure meant nothing to the Tribunal as they gutted the very essence, spirit and nature of the constitutional rights which Discovery allows every civil litigant. The ARDC was permitted discovery by Rules, but Respondents are not. Then, they gutted experts in the area of blogs, and in particular probate blogs, when in fact they appeared to know nothing about the Subject Manner at all. (At one point in the proceedings, one of the Panel Members, who apparently knew nothing about the First Amendment, indeed, he was the public member, asked Respondent if there were not a better way to do what she wanted to do besides run a blog about corruption, as if the First Amendment and news media should be curtailed or directed by the ARDC Court System as long as there was “a better way”). Whatever that “better way” this panel member was thinking, while it is facially unconstitutional, no one proffered it any anytime, before or after the ARDC trial.
Five expert witnesses — or all of them to be present by Respondent were stricken by the Panel. They were all with the major probate blogs (one was a popular local cable TV show) that specialized in probate and corruption and one was a probate law expert.
Respondent was further not allowed to subpoena any witnesses for deposition and was told the Tribunal would let her know who she could depose when the time was proper. (This apparently mean no one at anytime, even though Guardian Toerpe had never been questioned about the safe deposit box, although she had it drilled in April 2010 and emptied the contents and Gloria Sykes would swear or affirm she placed hundreds of thousands of gold and valuable coins in the box)–all of which were missing from all the inventories filed with the court. In addition, Guardian Carolyn failed to produce any Trust Accounting, although there was a house known to be in Trust, and Estate assets were being used to pay the mortgage and insurance on Mary’s home at 6014 N Avondale Ave in Chicago. There should have been 5 (five) trust accountings filed, yet no one has been allowed to ask Guardian Carolyn about those assets.
Any lawyer that works for sometime in the area of Guardianship, would realize, even after a cursory reading of the Sykes 09 P 4585 case that there were a number of highly unusual activities in the case that simply ran directly counter to the numerous safeguards of the Illinois Probate Act, namely; Mary was not served, nor were her elderly sisters notified of the time, date and place of hearing for guardianship 14 days in advance; the Guardian, upon being appointed immediately invaded and had drilled out a safe deposit box belonging to Gloria and Mary Sykes allegedly containing hundreds of thousands of dollars in gold coins and no discovery was ever had on this box, nothing was inventoried. Interestingly enough, Judge Stuart would testify as to the correct procedure for invading a safe deposit box held jointly see p. 1315 of https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B6FbJzwtHocwMFZtZzFhTDk0UTA where Judge Stuart talks about the proper way to obtain a court orer to drill a safe deposit box with notice to all purported owners. Moreover, it is standard court procedure to obtain a court order, with notice to all owners, prior to invading joint property. This never happened. The Director of the USPTO could put a guardianship lawyer on the ROA (Record on Appeal) and this person would have a field day making a list of all the improprieties of the Sykes 09 P 4585. However, this has been already done to a large part, see the Table of Torts, https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6FbJzwtHocwZlhsbXU2bTFqN0k. I apologized that this document has not been updated.
And finally, at numerous points in the case, it was admitted that the case was simply fixed. At p.91 of her deposition, when it was pointed that Mary Sykes was never served with the Summons and Complaint, Judge Maureen Connors merely stated she would have had the case dismissed, then reinstated it and come to the same result. Judges are supposed to make original decisions with the facts and case law in front of them. Judges are not permitted to dismiss a crooked case and then reinstate it and come to the same decisions. See, Connors Deposition at https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6FbJzwtHocwZ3RKeF9wcHNTZ3M. Page 91.
Prior to this, in Mary’s advance directives for her Trust, it said that only her personal physician could make the determination as to when she became incompetent. He refused to do so. When Judge Connors was told this, she merely told Atty. Peter Schmeidel, “well then go find a doctor that will.” This was an incredible example of the worst sort of case fixing–doctor shopping, taking place in open court and clearly against the terms stated in Mary’s Trust. See — https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6FbJzwtHocwb3I1RV9IQnJlY3M, page 4.
In addition, in one of the court transcripts, Peter Schmeidel states that while Gloria has filed numerous appeals, he has that “taken care of” those with Judge Bernstein (now why he would admit this is open court is a mystery). Of course Gloria filed about 4 or 5 appeals and lost many on motion practice–all courtesy of “Judge Bernstein”. Respondent immediately reported this to the FBI and then he was moved to downstate Illinois in a few months, and now he is no longer an Appellate court judge at all.
Judge Stuart would be removed from the bench after she changed her testimony at my trial. I merely asked her, “Is it true that you had Gloria Sykes chained in your ante room and had your bailiffs threaten to have her pets euthanized at the City Pound if she did not tell you where all her assets were?” Answer, “of course not.” I asked then a few other questions and went back to the subject. Question: “How many people have you chained in your ante room.” Answer, “you know that was the fir—-. Let me change that Answer, I have never chained anyone in my anteroom.” Fortunately, an FBI agent was sitting right behind me in the dead of winter. While he would not identify himself, he said he was “an observer” for Judge Stuart which is very interesting. She “suddenly retired” in 6 weeks. see, declaration of Respondent, supra.
When the transcripts were received, interestingly enough, this entire section was mangled, despite the fact the court reporter promised me she would not alter the transcript from the true words of the proceeding, she did in fact do so. The Tribunal was immediately informed and Respondent’s counsel asked for a copy of the audio portion and the Tribunal said “it was not necessary” and covered up the felony of perjury and subornation of perjury. Why the FBI did not arrest her or the court reporter is unknown, but people are now making vociferous demands to have crooked judges arrested and that day will come.
Finally, the entire verdict of the ARDC tribunal was completely Illegal under Illinois Law. It turns out that the court reporter who transcribed most hearings and all of the trial was unlicensed. (JoAnn Egan) And not just a little bit, but since 1995 or nearly 8 years at the time of trial.
(225 ILCS 415/1) (from Ch. 111, par. 6201)
(Section scheduled to be repealed on January 1, 2024)
Sec. 1. The practice of shorthand reporting in the State of Illinois is hereby declared to affect the public health, safety and welfare and to be subject to regulation and control in the public interest. This Act is designed to encourage proficiency in the practice of shorthand reporting as a profession; to promote efficiency in court and general reporting; and to extend to the public the protection afforded by a standardized profession by establishing a standard of competency for certified shorthand reporters. It is further declared that, in order for the practice of shorthand reporting as defined in this Act to merit and receive the confidence of the public, only qualified persons shall be authorized to practice shorthand reporting in the State of Illinois. This Act shall be liberally construed to best carry out these subjects and purposes.
(Source: P.A. 83-73.)
(225 ILCS 415/3) (from Ch. 111, par. 6203)
(Section scheduled to be repealed on January 1, 2024)
Sec. 3. License required. No person may practice shorthand reporting on a temporary or permanent basis in this State without being certified under this Act.
(Section scheduled to be repealed on January 1, 2024)
Sec. 3.5. Uncertified practice; violation; civil penalty.
(a) Any person who practices, offers to practice, attempts to practice, or holds oneself out to practice as a shorthand reporter without being certified under this Act shall, in addition to any other penalty provided by law, pay a civil penalty to the Department in an amount not to exceed $10,000 for each offense as determined by the Department and the assessment of costs as provided under Section 23.3 of this Act.
(Section scheduled to be repealed on January 1, 2024)
Sec. 3. License required. No person may practice shorthand reporting on a temporary or permanent basis in this State without being certified under this Act.
(225 ILCS 415/13) (from Ch. 111, par. 6213)
(Section scheduled to be repealed on January 1, 2024)
Sec. 13. No action or suit shall be instituted, nor recovery therein be had, in any court of this State by any person for compensation for any act done or service rendered, the doing or rendering of which is prohibited under the provisions of this Act to other than certified shorthand reporters.
(Source: P.A. 83-73.)
Thus, Illinois law makes it clear that no judgment may be taken where a person who is not a licensed shorthand reporter has recorded a trial. Joann Egan admits in her declaration at
Hence the judgement at the IARDC was void ab initio and should be reversed by the Illinois Supreme court.
Records from the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation show that the trial court reporter Joann Egan was not licensed and that she was not a court reporter during the numerous hearings and trial dates for 2013 PR 01. See, https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6FbJzwtHocwZERNdXNCYmJvY1k.
The entire judgement should be stricken in the State of Illinois.
For the USPTO and the General Counsel of the USPTO and the Director of Enrollment and Discipline to enforce and give effect to a “judgment” which is void pe se and ineffective by operation of Illinois law would result in grave injustice.
Hence, Applicant submits her Response to the false allegations contained in the Aug. 31, 2016 are without merit and respectfully moves that the allegations and request for discipline against her for merely running a truthful blog be DENIED.
JoAnne M. Denison
Pat. Reg. No. 34,150
Justice 4 Every 1, NFP
5940 W Touhy Ave, #120
Niles, IL 60714
EXHIBIT A – RELEVANT CASES
Bates v. State Bar of Arizona,
433 U.S. 350, 97 S. Ct. 2691,
53 L. Ed. 2d 810 (1977)
Facts: Lawyer desired to advertise for his law clinic describing what work the law clinic performed.
The American Bar Association itself has a provision in its current Code of Professional Responsibility that would allow the disclosure of such information, and more, [p367] in the classified section of the telephone directory. DR 2-102(A)(6) (1976). [n18]We recognize, however, that an advertising diet limited to such spartan fare would provide scant nourishment.
We suspect that few attorneys engage in such self-deception. [n19]
The alternative — the prohibition of advertising — serves only to restrict the information that flows to consumers. [n30]
As the bar acknowledges, “the middle 70% of our population is not being reached or served adequately by the legal profession.“ ABA, Revised Handbook on Prepaid Legal Services 2 (1972).
Overbreadth is a strong medicine that must be applied sparingly and only as a last resort.
Holding: Lawyers have a First Amendment Right to advertise.
Brown v. Entm’t Merchants Ass’n,
131 S. Ct. 2729, 180 L. Ed. 2d 708 (2011)
Holding: Violent video games need not display outer package warnings; strict scrutiny required to any restrictions on advertising of commercial speech.
Citizens United v. Fed. Election Comm’n,
558 U.S. 310, 130 S. Ct. 876,
175 L. Ed. 2d 753 (2010)
The Federal Election Commission could not withhold a scandalous movie made about Hillary Clinton days before the election. The “strict scrutiny”” standard was applied.
The First Amendment does not permit laws that force speakers to retain a campaign finance attorney, conduct demographic marketing research, or seek declaratory rulings before discussing the most salient political issues of our day. Prolix laws chill speech for the same reason that vague laws chill speech: People “of common intelligence must necessarily guess at [the law’s] meaning and differ as to its application.” Connally v. General Constr. Co. , 269 U. S. 385, 391 (1926) .
Courts, too, are bound by the First Amendment . We must decline to draw, and then redraw, constitutional lines based on the particular media or technology used to disseminate political speech from a particular speaker. It must be noted, moreover, that this undertaking would require substantial litigation over an extended time, all to interpret a law that beyond doubt discloses serious First Amendment flaws. The interpretive process itself would create an inevitable, pervasive, and serious risk of chilling protected speech pending the drawing of fine distinctions that, in the end, would themselves be questionable. First Amendment standards, however, “must give the benefit of any doubt to protecting rather than stifling speech.” WRTL , 551 U. S., at 469 (opinion of Roberts , C. J.) (citing New York Times Co. v. Sullivan , 376 U. S. 254, 269–270 (1964) ).
We decline to adopt an interpretation that requires intricate case-by-case determinations to verify whether political speech is banned, especially if we are convinced that, in the end, this corporation has a constitutional right to speak on this subject.
We find no basis for the proposition that, in the context of political speech, the Government may impose restrictions on certain disfavored speakers. Both history and logic lead us to this conclusion.
Political speech is “indispensable to decisionmaking in a democracy, and this is no less true because the speech comes from a corporation rather than an individual.” Bellotti, 435 U. S., at 777 (footnote omitted); see ibid. (the worth of speech “does not depend upon the identity of its source, whether corporation, association, union, or individual”); Buckley , 424 U. S., at 48–49 (“[T]he concept that government may restrict the speech of some elements of our society in order to enhance the relative voice of others is wholly foreign to the First Amendment ”)
Gentile v. State Bar of Nevada,
501 U.S. 1030, 111 S. Ct. 2720,
115 L. Ed. 2d 888 (1991)
Facts: Lawyer made out of court statements during a press conference that he was innocent minutes after his indictment was announced. Later the Lawyer was found not guilty.
The Supreme Court considered whether Respondent’s statements did in fact carry a threat of clear and present danger to the impartiality and good order of the courts or whether they are of a character which the principles of the First Amendment, as adopted by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, protect.
“‘Whenever the fundamental rights of free speech . . . are alleged to have been invaded, it must remain open to a defendant to present the issue whether there actually Page 501 U. S. 1039 did exist at the time a clear danger; whether the danger, if any, was imminent; and whether the evil apprehended was one so substantial as to justify the stringent restriction interposed by the legislature.'”
Held: Lawyer’s statements were protected by the First Amendment
Hunter v. Virginia State Bar ex rel. Third
Dist. Comm., 285 Va. 485, 744 S.E.2d 611
(2013) cert. denied, 133 S. Ct. 2871, 186 L.
Ed. 2d 913 (U.S. 2013). 2013 WL 227970611. Virginia Supreme Court
Facts: Attorney Hunter was a criminal defense attorney that kept a blog of his winning cases. Some clients complained that they did not want their cases on his blog because they did not want anyone to know that they had won a criminal case. Held: criminal records are public and the blog is protected by the First Amendment, however the case was remanded to explore the imposition of a disclaimer for the blog.
Loving v. I.R.S.,
917 F. Supp. 2d 67, 80 (D.D.C. 2013) aff’d,
742 F.3d 1013
Facts: IRS sought to expand the scope of its duties to merely collect taxes and they embark on a scheme to license and regulate tax preparers. Mrs. Loving sues stating this was outside the realm of work granted to them by Congress. U.S. Supreme Court agrees. Likewise, the IARDC cannot regulate the media or blogs of attorneys.
Peel v. Attorney Registration & Disciplinary
Comm’n of Illinois,
496 U.S. 91, 110 S. Ct. 2281,
110 L. Ed. 2d 83 (1990)
Facts: IARDC sought to discipline Mr. Peel for announcing on his letterhead his specialty, which was not permitted by IARDC rules. Held: Mr. Peel had a First Amendment right to advertise his speciality, as long as it was not deceptive.
Snyder v. Phelps,
131 S. Ct. 1207,
179 L. Ed. 2d 172 (2011)
Facts: Westboro Baptist Church asserts that it has a First Amendment right to protest “Thank God for Dead Soldiers,” “Fags Doom Nations,” “America is Doomed,” “Priests Rape Boys,” and “You’re Going to Hell”—for about 30 minutes before the funeral began.
Held: These activities were protected by the First Amendment
United States v. Alvarez,
132 S. Ct. 2537, 183 L.Ed.2d 574 (2012)
Facts: the US had a strong law against people falsely wearing or claiming war medals under the “Stolen Valor Act.” The 9th Circuit held the law unconstitutional under the First Amendment and the US Supreme Court Agreed.
Facts: Mr. Alvarez made statements to numerous third parties that he possessed a Medal of Valor when he in fact he did not. He pled guilty, with the right to appeal the conviction on First Amendment grounds. From the court’s decision:
Content-based restrictions on speech have been permitted only for a few historic categories of speech, including incitement, obscenity, defamation, speech integral to criminal conduct, so-called “fighting words,” child pornography, fraud, true threats, and speech presenting some grave and imminent threat the Government has the power to prevent.
Absent from these few categories is any general exception for false statements. The Government argues that cases such as Hustler Magazine, Inc., v. Falwell, 485 U. S. 46, support its claim that false statements have no value and hence no First Amendment protection. But all the Government’s quotations derive from cases discussing defamation, fraud, or some other legally cognizable harm associated with a false statement.
(b) The Act seeks to control and suppress all false statements on this one subject in almost limitless times and settings without regard to whether the lie was made for the purpose of material gain. Permitting the Government to decree this speech to be a criminal offense would endorse government authority to compile a list of subjects about which false statements are punishable. That governmental power has no clear limiting principle. Pp. 10−11.
(c) The Court applies the “most exacting scrutiny” in assessing content-based restrictions on protected speech. Turner Broadcasting System Inc. v.FCC, 512 U. S. 622. The Act does not satisfy that scrutiny. While the Government’s interest in protecting the integrity of the Medal of Honor is beyond question, the First Amendment requires that there be a direct causal link between the restriction imposed and the injury to be prevented. Here, that link has not been shown. The Government points to no evidence supporting its claim that the public’s general perception of military awards is diluted by false claims such as those made by respondent. And it has not shown, and cannot show, why counterspeech, such as the ridicule respondent received online and in the press, would not suffice to achieve its interest.
Held: even false statements can be protected under the First Amendment
Baskin v. Hale, App. Ct. Georgia
Facts: Trial court entered an injunction regarding the parties making posts and comments regarding the case on Facebook and stated the parties must refrain from “posting matters about each other or their current litigation on Facebook or other social networking sites.”24 This Court noted that “a trial court can require the parties in a divorce proceeding to refrain from making derogatory remarks about the other before the children.”25
The Government thus carries a heavy burden of showing justification for the imposition of such a restraint.”27 An attempt to effect a prior restraint is subject to “exacting scrutiny.”28 The United States Supreme Court has instructed that: [p]roperly applied, the test requires a court to make its own inquiry into the imminence and magnitude of the danger said to flow from the particular utterance and then to balance the character of the evil, as well as its likelihood, against the need for free and unfettered expression. The possibility that other measures will serve the State’s interests should also be weighed.29 Reviewing the injunction in this case, we conclude that the superior court failed to properly balance the danger flowing from the prohibited speech with the parties’ and attorneys’ First Amendment rights.
As the United States Supreme Court has stated, [w]hatever differences may exist about interpretations of the First Amendment, there is practically universal agreement that a major purpose of that Amendment was to protect the free discussion of governmental affairs. Although it is assumed that judges will ignore the public clamor or media reports and editorials in reaching their decisions and by tradition will not respond to public commentary, the law gives judges as persons, or courts as institutions no greater immunity from criticism than other persons or institutions. The operations of the courts and the judicial conduct of judges are matters of utmost public concern.32
In Re Sawyer, 360 U.S. 622, 79 S.Ct. 1376, 3 L.Ed.2d 1473
Matter of Disciplinary Proceedings against Harriet Bouslog SAWYER,
Petitioner. No. 326.
For many months beginning in late 1952 she participated, in the United States District Court at Honolulu, as one of the defense counsel in the trial of an indictment against a number of defendants for conspiracy under the Smith Act,18 U.S. C. § 2385. The trial was before Federal District Judge Jon Wiig and a jury. Both disciplinary charges against petitioner had to do with the Smith Act trial. One charge related to a speech she made about six weeks after the trial began. The speech was made on the Island of Hawaii, at Honokaa, a village some 182 miles from Honolulu, Oahu, on a Sunday morning.
We think that our review may be limited to the narrow question whether the facts adduced are capable of supporting the findings that the petitioner’s speech impugned Judge Wiig’s impartiality and fairness in conducting the Smith Act trial and thus reflected upon his integrity in the dispensation of justice in that case. We deal with the Court’s findings, not with “misconduct” in the abstract.
We start with the proposition that lawyers are free to criticize the state of the law.
But all are free to express their views on these matters, and no one would say that this sort of criticism constituted an improper attack on the judges who enforced such rules and who presided at the trials. This is so, even though the existence of questionable rules of law might be said in a sense to produce unfair trials. Such criticism simply cannot be equated with an attack on the motivation or the integrity or the competence of the judges. And surely permissible criticism may as well be made to a lay audience as to a professional; oftentimes the law is modified through popular criticism;
The specific statements found censurable (without which the bringing of the charge would have been inconceivable) are not in the least inconsistent with this, even though they must be taken to relate to the trial in progress. These specific statements are hardly damning by themselves, and clearly call for the light examination in context may give them; so examined, they do not furnish any basis for a finding of professional misconduct. She said that there were “horrible” and “shocking” things going on at the trial, but this remark, introductory to the speech, of course was in the context of what she further said about conspiracy prosecutions, Smith Act trials, and the prosecution’s conduct.
Hence, Mrs. Sawyer was allowed to criticize, a law, a decision, a trial and the prosecutor.
Scholarly Articles on the First Amendment and Lawyers
- Leslie Salzman, Rethinking Guardianship
(Again): Substituted Decision Making As
A Violation of the Integration Mandate of
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities
Act, 81 U. COLO. L. REV. 157 (2010)
2) The Truth be Damned; The first Amendment Attorney Speech and Judicial Reputation by Prof. Margaret Tarkington
3) Harvard Law Review: Occupational Speech and the First Amendment
Article promotes that lawyer speech should be fully protected under the First Amendment
4) Yale Law Review Article: Professional speech by Claudia Haupft