Friday, December 21, 2007

Legal Victim Assistance Project - Report on Fraud and Abuse in Bankruptcy

This is a Report regarding the existence of Organized Crime in Region 21 of the U.S. Trustee Program. There appears to be criminal conversion of Debtor assets perpetrated by a criminal network under the watch, and with the assistance and full acquiescence, of the U.S. Trustee in Region 21. The Report would also seem to substantiate that this type of Organized Crime exists in other Regions of the U.S. Trustee Program.

Fraud and abuses in Bankruptcy were recognized by Congress more than 80 years ago. Violations remain unchecked to this day affecting citizens and their companies. Hard working people who are honest Debtors are sustaining significant financial and emotional harm at the hands of a small group of ruthless racketeers who violate the Rules of the Bankruptcy Code and get away with it because the Judiciary approves the illegal conduct and the first line of defense, the U.S. Trustee, has failed miserably as “first responders” to protect the public. The failure is more egregious because it involves the criminal conversion of Debtor assets in favor of the U.S. Trustee.

Organized Crime is not limited to familial, racial or ethnic lines. It can be and is also along professional lines. Criminal networks have become more sophisticated in their operations and capabilities. Corruption remains an indispensable tool of the criminal trade. The corruption of a Federal Bankruptcy Judge for the purpose of providing “high level protection” is inherent in the success of the Organized Criminal Activity. The corruption of a U.S. Trustee, through an implicit alliance with this senior official, “heads off” law enforcement initiatives that could interfere with the criminal activities and allows the crime group to operate in a benign legal environment. The power of these high level protectors is the most important factor in how well the criminal group prospers.

As a specific case on point: Baron’s Stores, Inc. - Case No. 97-25645-BKC-PGH.

In this case the U. S. Trustee failed to adhere to any fiduciary responsibilities entrusted by the appointment, including, but not limited to:

- The U.S. Trustee failed to monitor the estate assets with timely reporting and oversight.

- The U.S. Trustee failed to procure proper applications for appointments.

- The U.S. Trustee failed to procure proper fee applications.

- The U.S. Trustee failed to monitor asset distributions.

- The U.S. Trustee failed to prevent the distribution of estate assets to an insider in a sweetheart deal.

- The U.S. Trustee failed to prevent the payment of fees to a “defacto” debtors counsel in addition to a debtors counsel.

- The U.S. Trustee failed to prevent payment to “special counsel” on a contingency basis in complete deference to a court order awarding fees on a general retainer.

- The U.S. Trustee failed to perfect and protect the true value of the debtor estate.

- The U.S. Trustee failed to prevent pre-petition costs to be reimbursed in full.

- The U.S. Trustee failed to correct these failures, having been given notice.

The failures of Judge Paul G. Hyman, Jr. raised in the Judicial Complaint against him:

- Judge Hyman violated the Bankruptcy Code and Bankruptcy Rules by waiving the requirements enacted by Congress.

- Judge Hyman hired professionals under a General Retainer Agreement and paid them under a Contingency Agreement including pre-petition costs.

- Judge Hyman waived the requirement of Bankruptcy Rule 2016.

- Judge Hyman paid a conflicted attorney whom, by his own admission, represented the Unsecured Creditors Committee and was defacto Debtor’s Counsel.

- Judge Hyman denied me due process by ignoring my Affidavit whereby alerting the Court to the conflicts of interests of the attorneys.

- Judge Hyman signed an Order containing false information pursuant to the hearing on my Affidavit.

- Judge Hyman bifurcated the case into liability and remedy after liability was established by the attorneys “admission against interests.” Judge Hyman ignored the admissions by the attorneys thereby preventing me from discovery of nineteen witnesses who knew or should have known about the intent of the attorneys’ fraud.

- Judge Hyman ignored my request for fiduciary assistance on behalf of a bereft Debtor, and caused me further financial damage.

- Judge Hyman acted as a witness at the evidentiary trial.

The conclusion any person would draw from the Baron’s case is that Organized Criminal Activity occurred, perpetrated by the U.S. Trustee, Bankruptcy Attorneys and the Bankruptcy Judge. It may never be shown that the U.S. Trustee got illegal funds - too smart for that. It may never be shown that the Bankruptcy Judge got illegal funds - too smart for that. But it can be shown that the assets of Baron’s estate were improperly accounted for, improperly evaluated, improperly distributed, and that the beneficiaries were the Attorneys, and an insider Creditor, all to the detriment of the other Creditors and the Debtor.

The revelations in the Baron’s case should come as no surprise. Examining the history of Congress reveals that continual problems in the bankruptcy courts still existed and Congress stated its concern in the Matter of Arkansas Co., (cites are available in the written version, 798 F.2d645,649 (3d Cir. 1986).

“It is significant that Congress chose to place the requirement of court approval for the employment of an attorney, accountant, or other professional directly in the Bankruptcy Code in 1978 - 11 U.S.C. 1103(a). The legislative history makes clear that the 1978 Code was designed to eliminate the abuses and detrimental practices that had been found to prevail. Among such practices was the cronyism of the “bankruptcy ring” and attorney control of bankruptcy cases. In fact, the House Report noted that “in practice...the bankruptcy systemoperates more for the benefit of attorneys than for the benefit of creditors.”
(H.R. No. 595, 95th Cong.,2d Sess. 92, reprinted in 1978 U.S. Code Cong. & Ad. News 5963,6053).

In January, 1993, a review of the effectiveness of the Justice Department oversight was presented in the form of a Report to Congress:

United States General Accounting Office Report to the Chairman, subcommittee on Economic and Commercial Law, Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives


The Report dealt with FRAUD in the oversight of Bankruptcy cases by U.S. Trustees appointed to do just that.

- The Report focused on the “wrong” conflicts of interest as a problem. It is not the U.S. Government that the Trustees would be helping.

- The Report focused on embezzled money, primarily, and not the damage done by mishandling, misdirecting and fraudulently conveying assets to improper parties.

- The Report assumes that the appointed U.S. Trustees are stupid and would make the finding of their impropriety an easy task.

- The Report focused on Chapter 7’s and did not consider Chapter 11 liquidations; these are the most lucrative for the criminal activity. These are companies that have a chance to reorganize which, through the manipulation by the trusted parties, become their financial windfalls. Do these have the worst exposure because they are a bastardization of a Chapter 7 and therefore fall outside the protections that should be afforded a Chapter 7? Is the U.S. Trustee’s role different because it starts as a Chapter 11?

Further evidence of cumulative, rampant Bankruptcy Fraud and Abuse was published in a March 2003 Report, No. 03-17, Office of the Inspector General

The U.S. Trustee Program’s Efforts to Prevent Bankruptcy Fraud and Abuse APPENDIX 10
U. S. Department of Justice
Executive Office for United States Trustees
Office of the Director, Washington, D.C. 20530

February 27, 2003


TO: Guy K. Zimmerman
Assistant Inspector General for Audit

FROM: Lawrence A. Friedman (original signed)

SUBJECT: Draft OIG Report on “The United States Trustee Program’s Efforts to Prevent Bankruptcy Fraud and Abuse”

This Report is an insult to the public. It should offend every Congressman to the core. If one reads this Report, and reflects back to the premise upon which the Trustee program was founded, “to be the first line in identifying improper conduct” in the Bankruptcy process, one has to grasp the simple enormity of the failure. The Report is a classic example of misinformation through misdirection. The purpose of the Trustee program is to uncover and prosecute fraud and abuse. If we were to set the analogy with other first responders, for example, firemen, it will become clear as to how absurd the Report is. The Trustees’ job is to identify criminal conduct. The identification of criminal conduct is prompted by a formal or informal report. The Trustees don't have to do anything to uncover the fraud. The prompt is from a report made by an interested party. To play on naivete that says such a report is meaningless, and that such reports do not require a systematic investigation of some type, is patently absurd. It would be like someone calling 911 to report a fire and the dispatcher referring the report to find out if there was really smoke; is the reporter capable of identifying a fire, what kind of fire is it, what is it burning, etc etc . The first response system, in the instance cited, would send a first responder to put out the fire. That is not the case in the U. S. Trustee program. The Report discusses creating uniform management control procedures to detect the “more common and higher risk types of fraud, concealment of assets and serial filers.” This is the wrong target and ignores the patient screaming he’s in pain. In fiscal year 2002, field offices received 30,000 formal and informal reports of enforcement action. This number tells the story in a nutshell. So much abuse is going on because the abusers know they can get away with it. If the first report was properly attended to on a first responder basis, and the wrongdoer found out, or it was found that no wrongdoing occurred, the very least that would be accomplished is deterrence. The present system does not deter any fraud or abuse. It has no teeth. The program has an incentive to join the gravy train, not to stop it. As a result of this purposeful laxity a case like Baron’s occurs.

Boldly apparent and unacceptable for the American taxpayer to endure for one more day is the recycling of official catering and compliance to esoteric and powerful insider demands. For nearly a century, solutions have been neutralized, laws violated, and takings against the Fifth Amendment accelerated to the point that the American citizen has no protection or right to property ownership that will be enforced under the intent and letter of the law in bankruptcy. The organized criminals do not sneak and hide to steal. They fearlessly step up using taxpayer supported systems and take their bounty leaving creditors unpaid, businesses destroyed, while stealing the productive moments of life that Americans are promised. Furthering the outrage, Debtors pay for this racketeering enterprise to thrive. The U.S. Trustee Program is supported by DEBTORS. In Chapter 11, the quarterly fees support the system. In Chapter 7, the panel trustee, presiding over the meeting of creditors, is paid out of the filing fee if the case has no assets. In Chapter 7 asset cases, panel trustees receive a sliding scale commission from the assets. In Chapter 13, trustees receive 10 percent of amounts paid into the plan. Debtors, no matter what Chapter, are disemboweled by using their own assets against them.


The first step is to stop “fraud on the court” by members of the Judiciary. The laws that are in place in bankruptcy are sufficient. It is the corruption of the machinery of the Court, by its Officers, that allows Organized Criminal activity in the profession to flourish. First we need to pass legislation that clearly defines “fraud on the court” that provides strict remedies that are non-negotiable, and that creates a failsafe method to stop proceedings where an allegation of “fraud on the court” has been made. Secondly, we need a responsive first line of defense to act upon each and every formal or informal complaint filed by an interested party. Only then will the fraud and abuse stop.

Legal Victim Assistance Project - Mission:

“To assist individuals who have been victimized (or damaged) by the legal system and unscrupulous attorneys”

Legal Victim Assistance Project (“LVAP”) sponsors research primarily into areas of the law that create an unusually high number of legal victims. Legal victims are individuals who have been “wrongfully damaged” in a legal matter due to, but not limited to, a fraud on the court being perpetrated by an officer of the court. One area of the law that has been the focus of our research is Bankruptcy.

The attached report was written by independent contributors in collaboration with, and at the direction of, the firm Meryl Lanson Consulting, Inc. Meryl Lanson Consulting, Inc. is a firm contracted by Legal Victim Assistance Project to direct and carry out its mission.

The Report concerns Organized Criminal activity occurring in Region 21 of the U.S. Trustee Program.

Legal Victim Assistance Project

Telephone: (561) 488-7678
Facsimile: (561) 488-2861

Program Manager: Meryl M. Lanson

This is a project of Congressional District Programs, Inc – a registered 501(c)3 public charity 6201 Leesburg Pike, Suite 403, Falls Church, VA 22044
E-Mail: Website:

Monday, November 12, 2007

Re: Request for RICO Investigation

Notice: As this blog has limitations as to certain forms of postings, I want to alert the public, in the interest of full disclosure, that R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, U.S. Department of Justice, did respond to my request in a letter, on his stationery, dated November 2, 2007 postmarked November 8, 2007. The contents of the letter are as follows:

November 2, 2007

Meryl M. Lanson

Re: Request for RICO Investigation

Dear Mrs. Lanson:

We are in receipt of your letter regarding your allegations of criminal RICO violations that occurred in the bankruptcy courts.

The United States Attorney’s Office is a federal agency in which federal violations are prosecuted. Cases received and prosecuted in this office are presented by other federal agencies, i.e., the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), etc. In order for this office to accept a case for prosecution, it must be introduced by an investigative federal agency.

We have forwarded your information to the following agency for their review and any action they deem appropriate:

Federal Bureau of Investigation
16320 NW 2nd Avenue
North Miami Beach, Florida 33169

Very truly yours,


Vanessa Morgan
Citizen Complaint Department

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


The Draft Rules Governing the Processing of Judicial Misconduct Complaints Will Not Stop Their Systematic Dismissal by Federal Judges, Who Thus Self-exempt from Accountability for Their Coordinated Wrongdoing

Last October 15 finished the period for filing public comments on the draft rules to amend the current rules for handling complaints filed by anybody against a federal judge under the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act of 1980. Neither the Act nor these rules establish standards of complainable misconduct or disability, let alone what discipline judges are to mete out to themselves. They set up a system of judicial self-discipline and only prescribe the procedure for federal judges to process complaints filed against them.

Since a man cannot be impartial in his own cause, self-discipline does not work. Judges, who were rendered neither more honorable nor incorruptible upon their politics-determined nomination by the President and confirmation by the Senate, have proved to be mere men and women as incapable of self-discipline as their neighbor.

7,462 judicial misconduct complaints,
but only 9 judges disciplined in 10 years!

Indeed, out of the 7,462 complaints filed against federal judges in the 10-year period 1997-2006, they disciplined only 9 of their peers! These are official statistics that the judges must file by law with the highest administrative body of the federal judiciary, i.e., the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, whose director is appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Both review them with the court of appeals chief judges that produce them when they meet twice a year in the Judicial Conference of the U.S., the judiciary’s highest policy-making body, whose Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability, formed by judges, drafted the rules at the request of the Chief Justice, who once was also a lower court judge as were the other Justices. (28 U.S.C. §§332(g), 604(h)(2),331 4th par., 601)

They all have known about these statistics and what they prove: That all of them, from the bottom to the top of the Judiciary, have engaged in, tolerated, and benefited from, the systematic dismissal of complaints against them! (The statistics are collected with links to the originals in

Their systematic dismissal of complaints against them amounts in practice to the unlawful abrogation of an Act of Congress by judges sworn to uphold the law. By systematically dismissing those complaints, judges have self-exempted from any discipline: They have abused their judicial power in self-interest and to the detriment of all the complainants, whom they have left to suffer at the hands of the complained-about judges.

Types of serious judicial wrongdoing excused by the judges' self-exemption

Fearing no disciplinary, let alone penal, consequences, the judges have engaged in, and tolerated, the types of misconduct and disability under which they classify complaints: abuse of judicial power, prejudice, bias, conflict of interests, bribery, corruption, undue decisional delay, incompetence, neglect, mental or physical disability, and judicially unbecoming or abusive demeanor.

Since they ensure their unaccountability, they have managed an inherently suspicious feat: Though there have been tens of thousands of federal judges in the 218 years since the creation of the federal judiciary in 1789, the number of those impeached and removed from the bench is 7!
(official statistics at >Judges of the U.S. Courts>Impeachments of Federal Judges)

Ordinary men and women as judges are, they would not give up such extraordinary privilege: They are above the law. Hence, the draft rules are practically a carbon copy of the current rules that have served them so well. To conceal this fact as much as possible and put their peers also beyond public scrutiny, the judges on the Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability announced the release of their draft rules on one single website, that of the barely known Administrative Office, and held only one single hearing in the whole country: in a district court not covered by a press corps. The public comments that they requested on the rules, have not been made public.

Yet, this commentator managed to obtain a copy of the official transcript of the hearing and is making it and his comments public through the first link above.

Neither AG Nominee Judge Mukasey nor Congress
will investigate the systematic dismissal of misconduct complaints
but a Watergate-like Follow the money! investigation
can expose coordinated judicial wrongdoing

Neither the systematic dismissal of complaints nor the abuse of judicial power will need to stop if Judge M. Mukasey is confirmed as Attorney General, for he was a participant and would incriminate himself if he ordered this coordinated judicial wrongdoing investigated. (See evidence in (

Nor will they be voluntarily investigated by Congress, described by its Speaker, H.P. N. Pelosi, as "dominated by the culture of corruption", so that its members are leery of becoming known as ‘judicial inquisitors’, for if their own corruption landed them in court, the judges could exploit the opportunity to retaliate.

However, Congress could be forced to investigate judges and reform the judiciary by a public outraged at the exposure of the judges’ coordinated wrongdoing, in general, and one of its most egregious manifestations, in particular: a fraud scheme in bankruptcy, an area in which judges control annually tens of billions of dollars. This would be the purpose of a Watergate-like Follow the money! investigation conducted by judicial reform advocates and investigative journalists, as set forth in

For details on how to join the Follow the money! investigation, contact:
Dr. Richard Cordero, Esq. at

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Re: Request for RICO Investigation

October 30, 2007

Mr. R. Alexander Acosta
United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida
99 Northeast 4th Street
Miami, Florida 33132


Re: Request for RICO Investigation

Dear United States Attorney Acosta:

It is my belief that I am a victim of Criminal RICO violations that occurred in the bankruptcy of Baron’s Stores, Inc., Case No. 97-25645-BKC-PGH.

This bankruptcy which was filed on September 9, 1997, and closed on December 10, 1999, was the subject of an evidentiary hearing that took place in January, 2007 before Judge Paul G. Hyman, Jr. The evidentiary hearing was ordered by Judge Hyman based on an Emergency Motion which I filed, Pro Se, alleging that “fraud on the court” had been perpetrated by three attorneys - Ronald C. Kopplow, Esq., Marc Cooper, Esq. and Sonya Salkin, Esq.[1] during the opened bankruptcy period. The evidentiary hearing resulted in a finding by Judge Hyman that no fraud on the court had occurred. That finding is now on Appeal before the Honorable Cecilia M. Altonaga, Case No.: 07-cv-60770-ALTONAGA/TURNOFF.

In addition to all the evidence presented at the evidentiary hearing, new information has been discovered, through contact with other individuals having proceedings before Judge Hyman, that leads me to request a racketeering enterprise investigation be initiated. I fully recognize that this is a sensitive criminal matter involving corrupt action by a bankruptcy judge.[2] That being said, facts or circumstances reasonably indicate that Judge Hyman, Ronald Kopplow, Marc Cooper and Sonya Salkin are engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity as defined in the RICO statute, 18 USC §1961 (5). I have evidence that criminal acts have been committed by Judge Paul G. Hyman, Jr., Ronald C. Kopplow, Esq., Marc Cooper, Esq. and Sonya L. Salkin, Esq. Indictable acts under the following provisions of Title 18, United States Code sections:

1503 Obstruction of Justice
1510 Obstruction of Criminal Investigation
1952 Racketeering (Criminal acts of judicial misconduct, fraud on the court, perjury, violations of the Borah Act, and Misprision by a U.S. Trustee [3]and other members of the bankruptcy bar[4] in addition to other Part 1, Crimes under Chapter 9 - Bankruptcy are part and parcel of the Racketeering activity).

I believe this constitutes a criminal RICO violation because:

- The criminal acts constitute a “pattern” of criminal activity because they are related and continuous.

- The criminal acts are related because they involve the same victims, the Debtor, Baron’s Stores, Inc., and the Creditors of Baron’s Stores, Inc.

- The criminal acts are committed in the same method - i.e. with the assistance of Judge Paul G. Hyman, Jr. through obstruction of a criminal investigation and obstruction of justice.

- The criminal acts involve the same participants - Judge Hyman, Kopplow, Cooper and Salkin.

- The criminal acts are continuous as they have occurred over a substantial period of time, at least since August 31, 1998 and pose the threat of indefinite duration as the criminal behavior is ongoing and is evidenced as late as January, 31, 2007.

- This is a criminal enterprise of associated individuals - Kopplow, Cooper and Salkin, and their facilitator, Judge Paul G. Hyman, Jr. These are three unrelated attorneys but for this enterprise. The Judge is unrelated but for allowing and thereby facilitating the criminal acts of these associated individuals.

- The common purpose is illegal enrichment at the expense of the Debtor and the Creditors.

This criminal enterprise is wholly analogous to the Mafia. Judge Hyman operates as the Godfather while the racketeering activity is carried on in his Court with his knowledge, acquiescence and protection.

I am familiar with the E.S. Bankest/Banco Espirito Santo matter, wherein you were quoted as saying after the sentencing of Hector Orlansky that the “20-year sentence is an important benchmark to our business community that honesty and integrity in commercial dealings must be protected, and that those who cheat face serious consequences” and “those who break the law for their personal or business advantage will face serious consequences. Justice was served.” I hope greater attention will be given this matter because when members of the legal profession, and more incredibly those that serve in the judiciary, abuse their position to protect themselves and their cronies, while destroying the lives of hard working innocent people nothing less than the harshest of punishments should be pursued.

In addition to this request for a RICO investigation, on October 8, 2007, I filed a Judicial Complaint against Judge Paul G. Hyman, Jr. in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals alleging judicial misconduct that encompasses all of the facts and circumstances related to Judge Hyman’s misconduct in the bankruptcy of Baron’s and in the reopening of the bankruptcy for “fraud on the court” up to and including the three day evidentiary hearing. I have taken the liberty of enclosing a copy of the Complaint along with the Statement, Witness List and Exhibit List. The Exhibits are available to you and will be produced immediately upon your request.

Very truly yours,

Meryl M. Lanson

Enclosures: Judicial Complaint against Judge Paul G. Hyman, Jr. including Witness List and Exhibit List

cc: Clifford J. White, III, Director
Executive Office for United States Trustees, Washington, D.C.

[1] Sonya Salkin is also a Region 21 Panel Trustee and has been at least since 1997.
[2] I am fully aware of the connections, “political” or otherwise and enumerate those I am aware of herein. In or about 1979, Judge Hyman was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Marc Cooper’s law partner at Colson Hicks, Roberto Martinez, was the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida from 1992 - 1993. In addition, Marc Cooper’s law partner at Colson Hicks, Dean Colson, was a law clerk for the late Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, William H. Rehnquist. Furthermore, Mr. Colson served along side the now Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts, and also served as Chief Justice Roberts best man at his wedding
[3] Ramona Elliott, the Assistant U.S. Trustee for Region 21 in the bankruptcy of Baron’s, remained silent during the proceedings even though having knowledge of criminal activity. Ramona Elliott is currently employed within the Trustee Program at the Executive Office for United States Trustees in Washington, D.C.
[4] Other members of the bankruptcy bar who remained silent appear on the Witness List attached to my Judicial Complaint against Judge Paul G. Hyman, Jr.

Judicial Complaint Form



To file a complaint of judicial misconduct or disability, please answer all of the questions on this form and send three copies in an envelope to the Clerk, United States Court of Appeals, 56 Forsyth Street, N.W. Atlanta, Georgia 30303. Please write “Chapter 16 Complaint” on the envelope. Do not write the name of the complained-of judge on the envelope. This complaint must be legible; if possible, it should be typewritten. For other details, see Rules of the Judicial Council of the Eleventh Circuit Governing Complaints of Judicial Misconduct or Disability.



Meryl M. Lanson, Complainant


Honorable Paul G. Hyman, Jr.
United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Florida, West Palm Beach Division

1. Does this complaint concern a particular lawsuit? Yes

If yes, please provide the following information about the lawsuit. (If more than one lawsuit is involved, use additional pages, as necessary.)

United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Florida, Fort Lauderdale Division – later transferred to West Palm Beach Division

Case No. 97-25645-BKC-PGH

Appeal in United States District Court, Southern District of Florida, Miami Division

Case No. 07-60770-CIV-ALTONAGA/Turnoff

What is (or was) your role in the lawsuit?

Party (including pro se)

Please provide the name, address, and telephone number of your attorney in this lawsuit:

2. Have you filed a lawsuit against the judge? No

If yes, please provide the following information about the lawsuit. (If more than one lawsuit is involved, use additional pages, as necessary.)

3. On separate sheets of paper, no larger than the paper on which this form is printed, please describe the evidence of misconduct or disability that is the subject of this complaint. Do not use more than five single-sided pages.

4. Sign your name.

I declare under penalty of perjury that I have read Rule 1 of the Rules of the Judicial Council of the Eleventh Circuit Governing Complaint of Judicial Misconduct and Disability, and that the statements made in this complaint are true and correct to the best of my knowledge.

Meryl M. Lanson/Signed October 8, 2007
_____________________________ _______________________
Signature of Complainant Date

Complaint Against Judge Hyman

The Honorable Paul G. Hyman, Jr. presided over the 1997 bankruptcy of Baron’s Stores, Inc. The Final Decree was issued on December 10, 1999. On March 11, 2005, I, Pro Se, filed an Emergency Motion to Reopen the bankruptcy of Baron’s Stores, Inc. for “fraud on the court” for failure to disclose under Bankruptcy Rule 2014[1]. On April 7, 2005, Judge Hyman reopened the bankruptcy of Baron’s in order to determine if “fraud on the court” for failure to disclose had been perpetrated by three attorneys[2]. Judge Hyman made all the rulings in the 1997 bankruptcy of Baron’s. In 2005, he reopened the case, denied Summary Judgments, and in 2007, presided over the evidentiary trial. The same Judge, who was defrauded, now was in position to correct the rulings he previously made. Instead of doing what was just and right, under the law, as is his duty, Judge Hyman chose to reinvent the Rules of the Bankruptcy Code enacted by Congress so that he could protect certain attorneys[3]. It obviously was too difficult for him to effect the prosecution of attorneys who appear before him on a regular basis. By reopening the bankruptcy, Judge Hyman opened “pandora’s box.” When he saw what lay inside at the evidentiary trial, and the magnitude of the wrongdoing, including his own, in addition to other lawyers involved in the cover-up, he chose to close the box rather than release the secrets. Judge Hyman has failed to maintain the integrity of the judicial process by refusing to correct errors contained in his Orders. As a result, he continues to deprive interested parties their right to object and be heard - violating due process. I was determined to investigate what secrets remained and how and why a decision of “no fraud on the court” could be made. My examination of the documents and understanding of the Rules un- covered the judicial misconduct, bias and impropriety of Judge Paul G. Hyman, Jr.

“Professionals must disclose all connections with the debtor, creditors and parties in interest, no matter how irrelevant or trivial those connections may seem. The disclosure rules are not discretionary. The Bankruptcy Court does not have authority to allow the employment of a professional in violation of 327, and the employment is void ab initio. Until proper disclosure has been made, it is premature to award fees for two reasons. First, the Bankruptcy Court cannot exercise its discretion
to excuse non-disclosure unless it knows what it is excusing. Second, employment is a prerequisite to compensation and until there is proper disclosure it cannot be known whether the professional is validly employed. The Bankruptcy Court cannot simply disregard those rules and instead award compensation under quantum meruit or other state law theories. Lack of Rule 2014 Statement “necessitates vacating the employment order.” The Bankruptcy Court has broad discretion to approve employment and award fees after the true facts are known but not when the attorney does not make a full, candid, and complete disclosure. The Bankruptcy Rules do not give the Bankruptcy Court any discretion to waive the requirement of a Rule 2014 Statement.

A Federal Judge must abide by a Canon of Ethics. In the matter of Baron’s, Judge Hyman violated the Canon of Ethics by failing to maintain the honesty, sincerity, uprightness and independence of the judiciary. These lapses of integrity display a pattern of improper activity. Judge Hyman has had many opportunities to correct these lapses and has failed to do so. The failures would lead one to believe that these lapses are intentional. The improper activity has had detrimental effects on not only me, but all interested parties, including but not limited to the creditors and employees of Baron’s Stores, Inc. Following is a series of improper activity and/or judicial misconduct on the part of Judge Paul G. Hyman, Jr. in the bankruptcy of Baron’s:

1) Judge Hyman violated the Bankruptcy Code and Bankruptcy Rules by waiving the requirements enacted by Congress[5] (Ex. A, B, C, D)

2) Judge Hyman hired professionals under a General Retainer Agreement (Ex. B) and paid them under a Contingency Agreement including pre-petition costs (Ex. E)

3) Judge Hyman waived the requirement of Bankruptcy Rule 2016 (Ex. E)

4) Judge Hyman paid a conflicted attorney whom, by his own admission, represented the Unsecured Creditors Committee and was defacto Debtor’s Counsel (Ex. F)

5) Judge Hyman denied me due process by ignoring my Affidavit whereby alerting the Court to the conflicts of interests of the attorneys (Ex. G)

6) Judge Hyman signed an Order containing false information pursuant to the hearing on my Affidavit (Ex. H)

7) Judge Hyman bifurcated the case into liability and remedy after liability was established by the attorneys “admission against interests.” Judge Hyman ignored the admissions by the attorneys thereby preventing me from discovery of nineteen witnesses who knew or should have known about the intent of the attorneys’ fraud (Ex. B, C, I)[6]

8) Judge Hyman ignored my request for fiduciary assistance on behalf of a bereft Debtor, and caused me further financial damage (Ex. J, K)

9) Judge Hyman acted as a witness at the evidentiary trial (Ex. L)

The very protection the Court has from appointing professionals in bankruptcy cases are the Rules of Disclosure enacted by Congress to protect honest debtors and creditors from professionals who choose to play fast and loose with the Court. Examining the history of Congress reveals that it knew the problem existed, especially in the bankruptcy courts, and thus stated its concerns in the Matter of Arkansas Co, (3dCir.1986).

“It is significant that Congress chose to place the requirement of court approval for the employment of an attorney, accountant, or other professional directly in the Bankruptcy Code in 1978. 11 U.S.C. 1103(a). The legislative history makes clear that the 1978 Code was designed to eliminate the abuses and detrimental practices that had been found to prevail. Among such practices was the cronyism of the “bankruptcy ring” and attorney control of bankruptcy cases. In fact, the House Report noted that “in practice...the bankruptcy system operates more for the benefit of attorneys than for the benefit of creditors.”

Congress’ fear as stated in the Matter of Arkansas Co. became a reality in the bankruptcy of Baron’s. What Congress could not have imagined was that the Court itself would engage in the “cronyism” by protecting certain members of the bankruptcy bar rather than protect the public from such “cronyism.” The Federal Courts have the power to improve or destroy the lives of individuals, including through precedents, the lives of millions of Americans. It is the duty of the Judicial Council to fully and impartially investigate my allegations so that I and the public will be confident that a fair process does exist when a Grievance is filed against a Federal Judge with oversight by the Federal Judiciary.

[1] Rule 2014 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure states, in pertinent part: (a) Application for an Order of Employment An order approving the employment of attorneys, accountants, appraisers, auctioneers, agents, or other professionals pursuant to § 327, § 1103, or § 1114 of the Code shall be made only on application of the trustee [or debtor in possession] . . . . The application shall state the specific facts showing the necessity for the employment, the name of the person to be employed, the reasons for the selection, the professional services to be rendered, any proposed arrangement for compensation, and, to the best of the applicant's knowledge, all of the person's connections with the debtor, creditors, any other party in interest, their respective attorneys and accountants, the United States trustee, or any person employed in the office of the United States trustee. The application shall be accompanied by a verified statement of the person to be employed setting forth the person's connections with the debtor, creditors, any other party in interest, their respective attorneys and accountants, the United States trustee, or any person employed in the office of the United States trustee. Fed. R. Bankr. P. 2014. In re Jennings, 199 Fed.Appx. 845 (11th Cir. 10/04/2006)
[2]Ronald C. Kopplow, Esq., Marc Cooper, Esq., Sonya L. Salkin, Esq. It should be noted that Sonya Salkin is also a Region 21 Panel Trustee.
[3]It is amazing that on December 1, 2004, Judge Hyman found that Linda Walden, a “creditor elected Trustee” and CPA committed perjury and fraud on the court on a minuscule fraction of evidence compared to what three attorneys did in the bankruptcy of Baron’s. It should be noted that Ms. Walden is not a Region 21 Panel Trustee and obviously did not enjoy the preferential treatment afforded attorneys by this Court - In Re: James Walker, Case No. 03-32158-BKC-PGH.
[4]In re Triple Star Welding, Inc., 324 B.R.778 (9th Cir. 04/28/2005)
[5]In re Triple Star Welding, Inc., 324 B.R.778 (9th Cir. 04/28/2005)
[6]In the Motion for Protective Order it is stipulated by the attorneys that they did not make disclosure to anyone. At the hearing on the Motion for Protective Order it is again stated that the attorneys did not make disclosure to anyone, and yet Judge Hyman failed to address the attorneys’ “admission against interests.” Such admission should have caused Judge Hyman to be outraged that he was defrauded by the attorneys in 1997 when he appointed them and paid them approximately $1 million in fees and costs, (including pre-petition costs) pursuant to the attorneys averment that they complied with Bankruptcy Rule 2014, and now, more than nine years later, they have admitted that they never complied with Rule 2014 under Bankruptcy Code 327. Such admission should have caused Judge Hyman, Sua Sponte, to deny the attorneys’ Motion for Protective Order so that the intent of the attorneys’ fraud on the court could be explored through discovery of the nineteen witnesses I wanted to depose. The Judicial Council should be quite concerned as to why Judge Hyman did not take immediate and appropriate action to protect the bankruptcy process and the integrity of the Court.

Complaint against Judge Hyman Witness List


1) Honorable Paul G. Hyman, Jr.

2) Clerk of the Court - United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Florida, Fort Lauderdale Division and West Palm Beach Division

3) Heidi Feinman, Esq. Office of the United States Trustee Region 21

4) Sonya L. Salkin, Esq.

5) Ronald C. Kopplow, Esq.

6) Marc Cooper, Esq.

7) Alan J. Perlman, Esq.

8) Lawrence C. Gottlieb, Esq.

9) Joel Tabas, Esq.

10) Richard E. Brodsky, Esq.

11) Steven Eisenberg, Esq.

12) Ramona Elliott, Esq.

13) Francis Carter, Esq.

[1]I reserve the right to call as a Witness any and all Experts and/or Professors that I deem necessary to substantiate the Judicial Misconduct of The Honorable Paul G. Hyman, Jr.
[2]I further reserve the right to call members of Congress who were responsible for enacting legislation pursuant to Bankruptcy Code 327 and Rule 2014.



A - 343/344 - (Interrogatories by Special Counsel Response to Interrogatories)

B - 415 - (Motion for Protective Order by Special Counsel
including Attachments and Exhibits)

C - 452 - (Transcript of September 29, 2006 Hearing on
Motion for Protective Order )

D - 52, 53, 94 [3] - (Order Approving Employment of Ronald C. Kopplow, Order Approving Employment of Marc Cooper, Order Approving Employment of Sonya Salkin)

E - 168 - (Order Granting Motion for Approval of Settlement Of Debtor’s Litigation Against Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Co., P.A.[4] )

F - 243, 268[5] - (Application by Lawrence C. Gottlieb for Creditor Committee for Compensation, and Order Granting Application for Compensation Fees and Expenses - Lawrence C. Gottlieb, Esq. )

G - 222 - (Affidavit by Creditor Norman Lanson, Creditor Meryl Lanson in Opposition to Ronald C. Kopplow’s and Marc Cooper’s Motion to Determine Entitlement to Attorneys’ Fees)

H - 224 - (Order Ruling on Motion to Determine Entitlement To Attorneys’ Fees by Marc Cooper, Ronald C. Kopplow)

I - 447 - (Order Bifurcating Fraud Hearing and Agreed Order Denying Motion for Protective Order)

J - 346 - (Notice of Filing Request for Fiduciary Assistance by Creditor Norman Lanson, and Creditor Meryl Lanson)

K - 414, 418 - (Interim Report No. 1 Filed by Interested Party Meryl Lanson, and Trustee’s Reorganized Debtor’s Interim Report No. 2 Filed by Interested Party) Meryl Lanson

L - 543, 544, 545 (Transcript of January 29, 30, 31, 2007 - Volume I, Volume II, Volume III - Trial[6] Excerpt from Appellee’s Response to Appellant’s Brief which Appellee’s quote Judge Hyman, acting as a witness, during the Trial wherein he presided, indicating he signed the wrong Order)

M[7] - (Plaintiff’s Motion for Combined Evidentiary and “Martinsen” Hearing to Determine that the Defendants Did Willfully Misrepresent Material Facts in Official Court Proceedings in a Way and a Manner to Materially Effect the Litigation Both in the Bankruptcy Court and in the Instant Action)

N[8] - (Plaintiff’s Chronology of Defendants’ Conflicts and Fraud Filed as a Supplement to: Plaintiff’s Motion for Combined Evidentiary and “Martinsen” Hearing, Etc. )

O - (Docket Report - U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Florida (Fort Lauderdale) Bankruptcy Petition #:97-25645-PGH )

P - (Oral Presentation by Meryl M. Lanson, Pro Se United States District Court Southern District of Florida - September 11, 2007 )

[1]Any Exhibits not provided in hard copy, and referred to pursuant to Docket Entry Number, shall be located and furnished upon request if the Judicial Council will not accept the Docket Entry as proof of Exhibit.
[2]For the ready review of the Judicial Council, a copy of the entire docket is included in this Complaint as Exhibit O.
[3]A copy of Order Granting Motion to Employ Sonya Salkin, Esq. shall be referred to pursuant to Docket Entry No. 94.
[4]The handwritten wording of Sonya Salkin, Esq. relating to the attorneys’ fees and costs was in lieu of a Rule 2016 Statement.
[5]Order Granting Application for Compensation - Fees and Expenses - Lawrence C. Gottlieb, Esq. shall be referred pursuant to Docket Entry No. 268.
[6]The Transcripts from the Trial are not incorporated herein - only identified through the Docket Number. The excerpt of Judge Hyman’s testimony during trial is incorporated by way of Appellee’s Response to Appellant’s Brief.
[7]This document, part of the court record, is provided to the Judicial Council for an easy understandable read as to what transpired in the 1997 Bankruptcy of Baron’s which ultimately was the reason that Judge Hyman re-opened the bankruptcy case for “fraud on the court.”
[8]Supplement as to Exhibit M - footnote 7.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Scary Federal Judiciary

Be sure not to miss this Halloween:

Scary Federal Judiciary

An expose' on the federal judiciary
and its seeming efforts to avoid
responsibility for deliberate violations
of rights through judicial rulings.

By Zena D. Crenshaw, Esq., Michael R. McCray, Esq., and Matthew F. Fogg

Article Location:

This past June, the U. S. Judicial Conference Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability submitted for public comment up to October 15, 2007, rules for the conduct of primarily federal judicial discipline proceedings. When effective, the proposed rules are to “. . . provide mandatory and nationally uniform provisions governing the substantive and procedural aspects of misconduct and disability proceedings . . .” for federal judges. They marvelously bridle discretion among chief circuit judges, the first responders to private citizens, prisoners, lawyers, court personnel and others, complaining that one or more federal judges are unethical or unable to properly function due to some mental and/or physical condition.

The actual or acting chief judge of any federal circuit in America can dismiss complaints alleging the misconduct and/or disability of his or her judicial colleagues, subject to certain appeals. Fortunately the rules at hand preclude those dismissals when underlying complaints pit the complainant’s word against those of a targeted judge. That situation involves “a simple credibility conflict” and should proceed for special committee investigation.

“Where a judge’s conduct has resulted in identifiable, particularized harm to the complainant or another individual, appropriate corrective action should include steps taken by that judge to acknowledge and redress the harm, if possible, such as by an apology, recusal from a case, and a pledge to refrain from similar conduct in the future.” Should the subject rules become enacted, minor corrections would be an insufficient response to serious allegations. Also, viable complaints could not be dismissed under the new rules if an alleged offender still performs judicial duties.

The foregoing provisions would soon give Americans good grounds for renewed confidence in the self-regulation of federal judges were it not for a disturbing message undermining the process. Through the preemption of complaints “directly related to the merits of a decision or procedural ruling”, federal judges suggest they are unaccountable for deliberate violations of rights accomplished through judicial proceedings. In contrast, the U. S. Constitution limits state power, “. . . however put forth, whether that action be executive, legislative, or judicial.” Ex Parte State of Virginia, 100 U. S. 339 at 346 (1879).

In 2004, the late Chief Justice Rehnquist appointed a Judicial Conduct and Disability Act Study Committee to appease criticism about the act’s implementation and corresponding effectiveness or lack thereof. Comprised only of judges, court personnel, and similar participants, the committee essentially confirms with its “Breyer Report” that court opinions rarely justify claims of unlawful judicial bias. Yet the circumstances of a court ruling may rebut the presumption that as to a particular litigant or litigants, the presiding judge is a person “. . . of conscience and intellectual discipline, capable of judging a particular controversy fairly . . .” cf., U. S. v. Morgan, 313 U S 409 at 421 (1941). In fact a judge’s willfulness characterized by “open defiance or reckless disregard of a constitutional requirement” of record, may establish a criminal violation of rights under color of law. See, Title 18 U.S.C. §242 and cf. U.S. v. Hayes, 589 F.2d 811 at 821 (5th Cir. 1979). That willfulness would be inextricably related to, but exceed mere error.

America’s federal judicial conference now anticipates a wondrous paradox of incorrect court rulings that result from, but in no way evidence improper judicial motive. Its rules are likely to preclude consideration of such matters “. . . to the extent (they attack) the merits” of a judicial ruling; though those linked to alleged collusion somehow go “. . . beyond a challenge to the correctness – ‘the merits’ of the ruling itself”. Such a dividing line is as elusive as “ . . . evidence apart from the ruling itself suggesting an improper motive”. At best it creates an extremely tight rope that prospective complainants under the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act should not have to walk.

The U. S. Supreme Court “. . . makes clear that judges and other ‘state officials integral to the judicial process’ are subject to criminal liability for violating the constitutional rights of individuals.” Briscoe v. La Hue, 460 U. S. 325, footnote 26 (1983). That the U. S. Judicial Conference is empowered to skirt such matters for federal judges is troubling, downright scary to say the least.

Apparently the conference will never fathom a criminal violation of rights under color of law warranting impeachment. Of course the Breyer Report and U. S. Justice Department prosecution statistics combine to dubiously suggest that of late, judges are virtually incapable of such crimes.

As America emerged from the height of its civil rights movement, federal judges and Congress boldly restrained deliberate violations of rights by state judges among other state officials. The idea of federal judges needing more independence would be laughable were it not so offensive. But alas, it is an idea aggressively promoted this new millennium through the corridors of America’s highest judicial officers and beyond. Feel free to share that hair raising story this Halloween.

Crenshaw, McCray, and Fogg are administrators for The 3.5.7 Commission, a privately established commission considering the propriety of summary judgments entered against federal government employees under Title VII, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and certain employees seeking relief under the False Claims Act. [ ] Ms. Crenshaw is also Executive Director of National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project, Inc., a nonprofit organization combating abuses of the legal system that are facilitated by judicial misconduct. [ ] McCray is a $40,000,000 government whistleblower and business developer who considers judicial reform an essential element of government whistleblower protection. Fogg is a currently inactive Chief Deputy U. S. Marshal as well as international human rights advocate.

Justice Dept silence aided fraud

Associated Press
Judge: Justice Dept Silence Aided FraudAssociated Press
10.25.07, 6:58 PM ET

A judge on Thursday accused the U.S. Justice Department of contributing to fraud by failing to notify her of a yearlong investigation into a consulting firm suspected of making millions by padding fees in bankruptcy cases.

Judge Judith Fitzgerald of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Pittsburgh said at a court hearing that she and other bankruptcy judges in several states are "very upset" they weren't informed of the Justice Department's probe into the billing practices of L. Tersigni Consulting.

The Stamford, Conn.-based firm played a role in more than a dozen big asbestos-related bankruptcy cases.

"Literally millions of dollars went out of debtors' estates that should not have gone out," Fitzgerald said. She said "there was a fraud on this court, and the Department of Justice participated."

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney in Newark, N.J. who launched the investigation denied there was a ban on communication with the bankruptcy court about the investigation.

"At no time did the U.S. Attorney's Office instruct anyone to withhold information from the bankruptcy court. That simply did not occur," Michael Drewniak said in an e-mailed statement.

Drewniak said the office is "precluded by law and policy not to disclose the existence of a criminal investigation," citing the need to protect the presumption of innocence.

No criminal charges have resulted from the Tersigni investigation, which began in April 2006 and is believed to have ended in May after the death of the man suspected of padding the firm's bills, Loreto Tersigni. But bankruptcy judges in Delaware, Pittsburgh, New Jersey and New York are being asked to appoint examiners to assess the damage.

An employee of the Tersigni firm, Bradley Rapp, discovered discrepancies in Tersigni's billing records in the spring of 2006. He found time records pumped up by 5 percent to 15 percent before being submitted to the court for payment. Within 48 hours, he reported his suspicions to the Office of the U.S. Trustee, his attorney said Thursday.

U.S. Trustee Kelly Beaudin Stapleton, who monitors the bankruptcy court, referred the matter to Christopher Christie, the U.S. Attorney in Newark, N.J. Rapp's attorney said Christie's office called in the FBI and began an investigation.

"Everyone was told to stand down, including the U.S. Trustee," said the attorney, Robert K. Malone.

Malone said Rapp was instructed to stay on the job at the Tersigni firm and supply documents to the U.S. Attorney and FBI, which he did.

"He acted on the advisement of the assistant U.S. Attorney not to breathe a word of this investigation," Malone said, adding, "It was killing him - for this man to go to work every day and not talk about it."

After Tersigni died, Rapp revealed his suspicions to the firm's direct clients, the official committees representing asbestos claimants in major bankruptcy cases. They in turn reported it to the lawyers for the bankrupt companies and later the courts.

Malone said there was evidence that Tersigni in some cases underbilled bankrupt companies.

Judge Fitzgerald on Thursday said the Justice Department was bound by ethical rules that require attorneys who suspect fraud in court proceedings to call it to the attention of the judge.

"What on earth was going on in the Department of Justice?" she asked.

Stapleton, the U.S. Trustee, told the judge that Department of Justice rules bar attorneys involved in a criminal investigation from feeding information to attorneys who work on the civil side, such as the U.S. Trustee. She said she could not say whether the criminal investigation was still under way or whether the matter had been submitted to a grand jury.

Lawyers representing the Tersigni interests could not be reached for comment.

Judges impose secrecy on ethics-rules revision


Judges impose secrecy on ethics-rules revision

Secrecy on the rewriting of federal misconduct rules is only deepening suspicions among critics who say judges have failed to police themselves adequately.

Posted on Fri, Oct. 26, 2007

Judiciary Committee, calling a mistake the decision to keep rule-change comments secret.
As the federal judiciary embarks on a historic revision of its rules against judicial misconduct, the panel of judges that is overseeing the drafting of new regulations refuses to disclose the public comments that could help shape the overhaul.

After requesting public comments about the proposed rules, the Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability refuses to say how many responses it received, who commented or what was said.

''I have never heard of public comments being made confidentially,'' said Abner Mikva, a retired chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. ``I'm trying to think of an explanation, but this strikes me as very strange.''

What's known is that several chief circuit judges across the country are among those who weighed in, sparking speculation that the judiciary is debating the merits of the proposed rules, which would impose unprecedented oversight over how federal courts handle complaints.


Legal experts said they weren't surprised by the reticence to release the information. By tradition and necessity, the federal judiciary often weighs some of its most important decisions behind closed doors and without public input.

Such secrecy, however, threatens to overshadow what's supposed to be the most sweeping tightening of federal judicial-misconduct policies in a quarter of a century.

Some watchdog groups questioned whether the panel's decision to withhold the comments was intended to prevent the disclosure of details of misconduct or to hide unhappiness among judges about having to comply with new rules.

The proposed rules provide strict oversight from Washington and require judges to leave much more detailed paper trails explaining their decisions about whether to investigate misconduct, experts said.


The judiciary previously has been criticized for imposing secrecy in matters that would more appropriately be discussed openly.

Earlier this year, court officials initially refused to disclose details about the sponsors of expenses-paid trips for judges, as new ethics rules require.

''It shows how difficult it is to wean the judiciary off its habits of confidentiality and keeping things to themselves,'' said Arthur Hellman, a professor who specializes in federal judicial ethics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. 'It's so deeply engrained that their first reaction is always, `No, no, that's not for public circulation.' ''

The decision to keep the written responses under wraps comes as the judiciary is under growing pressure from Congress to provide a better public explanation of how it handles misconduct complaints.

Legislators, advocacy groups and legal experts said that withholding the written responses would only add to suspicions about the often-secretive misconduct proceedings.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, a Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee, called the decision a mistake.

''By releasing them, the judicial branch would have credibility that it is responding to the failure of its own procedures,'' he said.

The changes come in response to criticism that federal judges have failed to police themselves adequately. Last year, a panel overseen by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer concluded that judges who handled five of 17 high-profile complaints had failed to investigate them properly, although it didn't find the problem to be systemic.


In the last five years, the judiciary closed 3,532 complaints but took action against judges in only four cases. In defending the high dismissal rate, judges point out that a large number of misconduct complaints are filed by people who misunderstand or abuse the process. Often, litigants who have lost their cases file misconduct complaints when they should be appealing the decisions to higher courts. Accusations of conflict of interest also are generally handled separately in recusal requests.

But critics said they thought that the judiciary might be failing to punish some judges either because the threshold for misconduct was too low or because matters weren't being investigated thoroughly.

Sensenbrenner and Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa have proposed legislation to create an inspector general's office that would independently investigate allegations of judicial misconduct. The judiciary opposes the idea, which Grassley said demonstrated that some judges ``see themselves like gods who are above criticism.''


Pittsburgh's Hellman praised the new rules but told the committee that they don't go far enough in requiring details about complaints.

In several cases, circuit courts have provided few details or written vague opinions about judges who are punished for misconduct. In September, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reprimanded U.S. District Judge Samuel B. Kent in Galveston, Texas, but didn't specify his punishment or detail what he did wrong. Publicly, at least one female court employee has accused him of sexual harassment.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Public Comments on Committee's Draft Rules

Coalition for Judicial Accountability

October 15, 2007

The Honorable Circuit Judge Ralph Winter
Chair, Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability
Office of the General Counsel
Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts
Washington, D.C. 20544
Sent as Directed by Email to:

Draft Rules Governing Judicial Conduct and Disability Proceedings

Proposed by the Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability
of the Judicial Conference of the United States

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Committee:
On July 16, 2007, your Committee requested public comment upon the Draft Rules Governing Judicial Conduct and Disability Proceedings, which are being considered for promulgation by the Judicial Branch under the legislative authority delegated to the U.S. Supreme Court by Act of Congress to implement the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 351-364.

The organizations and individuals signing below hereby submit these comments jointly and ask you to seriously consider them. These organizations regularly work for the legal rights of citizens and reform of the legal system.

The “Coalition for Judicial Accountability” is an umbrella project created to facilitate the joint submission of the individual (actual) organizations named below, each of which join in this submission together, along with individuals who have also affixed their name.

The individual organizations signing below may also submit further, individual comments separately. Each of these organizations has a broad range of concerns about the availability of legal services and the fairness and justice of the legal system to Americans, but they join here on areas of agreement to attempt to emphasize the importance of these matters and to ask for your very serious consideration of these joint comments.
Of course, for those in the legal profession, it is an ethical responsibility to work for the improvement of the legal system and to encourage the continuing development of a reliable, fair, and accessible legal system to benefit the public and a society maintained by the rule of law. We are pleased to assist the Committee by this response to the Committee’s request.

We applaud not only the value of good governance in this public comment period provided by the Committee, but also the Committee’s wisdom in accessing the broadest range of experiences, ideas, perspectives, and insights possible during this process to arrive at the best possible rules governing the Federal Courts across the nation.


We submit that (a) conflicts of interest among judges presiding over a case (refusal to recuse) create some of the most serious examples of judicial misconduct, (b) the Draft Rules Governing Judicial Conduct and Disability Proceedings must be changed to define a failure to recuse (proceeding under a conflict of interest or appearance) as a very serious category of misconduct, (c) the Court’s Rules must require automatic recusal, whenever an alternate judge is available and the motion is made in a way that will not cause disruption or dilatory delay, (d) the Committee’s Rules must aggressively regulate, enforce, and prosecute requirements of judges to avoid not only the reality but also the appearance of a conflict of interest. In short:


Therefore, proposed Rule 3(b)(A) “EXCLUSIONS” as currently drafted is wholly unacceptable and inadvertently confirms the worst suspicions of a cynical public and of critics of the Judiciary. Rule 3(b)(A) as drafted reinforces and confirms everything that cynics and critics believe is wrong with our nation’s courts.

Draft Rule 3(b)(A) currently provides that no substantive decision can be counted as “misconduct” by a Federal judge – including a failure to recuse (which would be relevant only if actual grounds for recusal had in fact existed, otherwise there would be no failure to act).

In other words, the Draft Rules provide that a failure to recuse can never be misconduct. A failure to recuse could only be considered as wrongful – and potentially misconduct – if the judge in fact had a conflict of interest in hearing the case. Thus, when placed in context, the Draft Rules effectively provide that a Federal Judge may hear a case in which the judge has a direct financial or personal interest – and yet this will not be considered as misconduct.

Thus, the Draft Rules actually provide that it is not misconduct for a Federal Judge to preside over and decide a case in which the Judge has a direct personal or financial interest, or perhaps the appearance of a conflict. Under the Draft Rules, a Judge could actually be an owner of a company involved in a case, and preside over the case, and this could never be misconduct.


We arrive at the comments below based on the following beliefs:

· The tasks and duties of judges, particularly in the Federal Judiciary, are of enormous mportance to the nation and to American society, including promoting a society governed by fairness, public safety, and the peaceful resolution of disputes.

· The Federal courts have the power to improve or destroy the lives of individuals, including – through precedents – the lives of millions of Americans.

· One who serves well as a Federal judge deserves enormous honor and respect.

· Public confidence that the nation is governed impartially and well by the rule of law, in which all persons are under the same law, is crucial to the preservation of civil society.

· Public confidence in the Judiciary can only be produced by the actual reality of fairness, respect, consistency, impartiality, and effectiveness in the Courts. It can never be ‘faked’ by public relations efforts or attempts to limit information to the public. As demonstrated by the recent crisis within the Catholic Church, hiding problems can prove catastrophic.

· Even the appearance of bias or conflicts of interest among judges can be as poisonous to society as the reality. Those who fervently believe that judges are impartial and fair should desire transparency to clearly demonstrate to the public that courts are fair.

· The great importance of the courts and judges to American society demands that only those who are very successful and highly qualified as judges should wield tremendous power over fellow citizens and the ability to preserve order or create chaos and ruin lives.

· Public confidence in the courts has in fact reached crisis proportions. In our interactions with the public, most people who have been to court tell us they are extremely dissatis-fied and disappointed. Nearly everyone complaining about their court experience insists that the judge was overtly biased and judged recklessly in disregard of the evidence.

· Addressing and resolving problems within the courts or inadequate performance of a judge is essential because of the great importance of the courts in society. The Committee should never permit the idea that the courts are too important to have real problems fixed.

· Performing successfully as a judge requires extraordinary mental concentration and attention to detail, enormous patience suited to a saint, a judicial temperament able to show respect to a vast diversity of individuals who may often be difficult or even unpleasant themselves, and the unusual psychological ability to set aside personal opinions and beliefs in favor of impartially applying governing laws and rules.

· As a result, those suited to the post of judge are rare and few, and the Court system must assertively detect and remove anyone who is not successful in the position of judge.

· Meanwhile, any attorney at such a level enjoys many wonderful professional opportunities far more profitable than serving as a judge. American life affords a variety of opportunities to suit the personalities and abilities of different types of individuals. To serve in a different occupation cannot be considered a loss. The Committee should consider only the needs of the country and should never consider a judgeship to be the personal property or right of any individual person.



An impartial decision-maker is the heart and soul of due process. Indeed, the very symbol of the courts in the United States is a statue of a blind-folded woman, meant to signify that law and justice are applied equally and impartially to all persons regardless of whom they are.

A conflict of interest, real or perceived, strikes at the very heart of the legal system of the United States, and threatens to destroy public confidence in the government of the nation and of the states and the rule of law which preserves a modern civilization.

The proposed Draft Rule 3(b)(A) is wholly unacceptable.

Draft Rule 3(b)(A) would define “misconduct” to exclude a judge’s failure to recuse himself or herself upon an allegation of a conflict of interest

Thus, the Committee proposes to announce to the entire nation that presiding over a case in Federal court when the judge has a conflict of interest is not “misconduct” in the eyes of the Committee or the Federal Judiciary.

This message will be regarded as nothing short of shocking to the average American who looks to the Federal Courts as the guardians of his rights and liberties.

It will be sensational that any agency of the Judiciary would suggest that hearing a case while having a conflict of interest is not “misconduct.”

Therefore, the phrase in Rule 3(b)(A) must be modified so that misconduct includes an improper refusal or failure to recuse including for actual or perceived conflicts of interest.


Every Court has a process for assigning various cases to different judges. Thus, it is no burden for a court to assign a judge without a conflict of interest, because the Court must already go through a process of case allocation.

The Draft Rules should be modified so that every Federal Judge is obligated to recuse herself or himself upon the slightest showing of even the appearance of a conflict of interest…. unless (a) an alternative judge is not available, (b) the recusal motion is brought at a time that is disruptive or (c) the motion is interposed purely for delay such as the week before the trial.

It must be a bedrock principle of the Federal Judiciary that ANY judge hearing the same case would produce the same result.

If Judges hearing the evidence and applying the law produce the “correct” result, then it must necessarily be true that every Judge would produce exactly the same result in a case.

Therefore, there can be no valid reason for opposing a motion for recusal. The Judiciary should never suggest that which Judge hears a case will change the outcome of the case!

Because – as a matter of public policy and law – it could not make any difference which Judge hears a case, the great need for public confidence in the courts requires that the public be assured that any Judge with the slightest appearance of any conflict will always recuse himself or herself to reassure all parties and the public that the courts will be fair.

For the Federal Judiciary to admit that a different Judge would produce a different result in the case is to admit that Judges do not apply the law to the facts impartially and accurately. For the Federal Judiciary to oppose automatic recusal is to admit that Judges decide cases based upon personal opinions, personal biases, and individual views. This would be an intolerable message to send to the American people. It must be made clear that all Judges are equal.

Of course, there may be occasions when an exception is necessary. (a) A party calling for recusal must do so promptly, before a particular judge has invested significant time and effort in a case (unless the cause for recusal arises during the case). (b) A motion for recusal should not be heard so as to create an excuse for delay, such as waiting to file the motion before a scheduled trial. (c) In extremely rare occasions, there may be no other judge available.


As mentioned above, every Court must already go through a process of allocating cases to various judges. Public confidence in the Courts should be upheld by avoiding the problem before it arises. Once a question of a conflict of interest arises, some of the damage is done.

The Committee should address the clear misconduct of deciding a case under a conflict of interest by defining measures necessary to avoid the offense of misconduct, perhaps in the form of a safe harbor. Again, we believe that the Committee is authorized to – and should – implement the Act by making it practical and effective in the real circumstances of the Court system, even if that means adding on further methods and procedures consistent with the Act.

Avoiding the misconduct of a conflict of interest should be addressed in two parts:

First, every Judge and the Judge’s law clerk(s) should place on file with the Clerk disclosures that will assist in allocating cases to Judges while avoiding any conflicts of interest arising in the first place, including (a) former law clerks practicing in law firms in the region, (b) relatives practicing law or serving as paralegals in law firms in the region, (c) companies in which the Judge or law clerk (including a spouse) has a financial interest, other than through a blind trust or mutual fund, (d) any organization or official who lobbied or assisted in the Judge’s appointment or confirmation to the bench, [1][1] (e) the Judge’s former employers or business associates, (f) relatives living in the region who are owners or managers of companies in the region, (g) organizations or clubs of which the Judge is a member (excluding in his or her official capacity as a Judge), and (h) the Judge’s and law clerk’s alma mater(s).

Second, the local rules of some circuits should be made universal and expanded: Upon assignment of a case, the parties should file a form with the initial pleadings to be reviewed by the judge, his deputy, his law clerks, his staff, that requires full disclosure as to any connection that the Judge or judge’s staff has to any of the litigants and/or their counsel directly or indirectly as a result of a family member and/or business associate to the named parties and their counsel. That completed form should then be sent to the parties in the litigation stating that a connection exists or doesn’t. At the initial stages, the litigants should be given the opportunity to challenge whether the disclosure form filed by opponents provides full disclosure and to raise any objections. To avoid the case progressing and wasting efforts before discovering a conflict, a fair hearing should be obligatory at the outset of a case.


The Draft Rules should be modified to recognize the full range of concerns held by a highly cynical and skeptical public. The narrow range of circumstances that the Courts officially recognize as conflicts of interest bear little or no relationship to the actual concerns of real people. It ought to be obvious to everyone that conflicts of interest include cases in which (a) a member of the Judge’s family works for one of the law firms in the case (except perhaps with large multi-city law firms) or for a company who is a party in the case, (b) a Judge’s former law clerk is one of the attorneys in the case or works for a small law firm in the case, (c) the Judge is a personal friend, neighbor, or fellow club or church member with one of the attorneys, or (d) a litigant is a lobbying organization or person with influence over whether the Judge is nominated or confirmed for a higher Judgeship (assuming an appointment is under active consideration), or actually did influence the Judge’s appointment or confirmation.

One of the most damaging injuries to public confidence in the courts is secrecy concerning complaints against Judges. While the Judiciary expects that confidentiality protects the reputation of Judges, precisely the opposite is true. Confidentiality and secrecy casts an air of suspicion and accusation upon all of the Judiciary and severely injures public confidence.

Of course, when a complaint is publicized months or years before the results of the investigation, incomplete disclosure can be unfair, leaving a false impression. Postponing disclosure until the final results can be disclosed with the complaint is fair. However, when the results are never disclosed, the public will assume that allegations are true but hushed up.

Rules 23 and 24 of the Draft Rules attempt to create confidentiality, until a final decision has been reached, followed by mandatory disclosure.

However, Rule 24 should be modified to remove the exceptions and to require disclosure of all information relating to a complaint (perhaps with private identities redacted). Disclosure that a complaint has been fully investigated and the facts found to be untrue would be more protective of the Judiciary than throwing a cloak of secrecy over complaints.

Even where complaints are resolved with minor reprimands or warnings, or on a summary basis, confidentiality is still not appropriate. A Judgeship is a position of public trust, not personal property. The public has a right to be aware of even minor transgressions and be vigilant of relapses. Although there is a danger of copy cat complaints, this should be carefully considered when reviewing any subsequent complaints. A condition of reprimand or warning is avoiding relapses, and therefore public knowledge and vigilance is appropriate.


We believe that the Committee has authority to provide for mechanisms necessary to implement the rules. The Committee should define misconduct to include concealing or failing to report evidence of suspicious circumstances or possible misconduct by any judge. It should be obvious that the person so reporting will not necessarily know all of the facts nor be aware if any misconduct has occurred. Because such information may not necessarily form an actual complaint, a method of reviewing irregularities may be required. The Congress might be asked to explicitly provide for such a rule.


Proposed Draft Rule 3(c) defines “Disability” but the Committee might consider a slightly broader definition. The tasks of a Judge are primarily intellectual. The benefits of wisdom, learning, and perspective for a Judge’s duties have traditionally favored Judges continuing to serve at very advanced ages, when they can still contribute a lifetime of valuable experience. However, medical science has also uncovered medical conditions such as Alzheimers which sometimes have implications for the ability of a Judge to remember, reason, and remain balanced. Emotional irritability and intermittent memory loss can be symptoms.

Curiously, Draft Rule 3(c) explicitly includes an inability to stay awake during proceedings as a disability under the Rule, but fails to include as a recognized disability an inability to remember the facts of the case, such as due to a stroke or Alzheimers, emotional imbalance and irritability (which can be a symptom of the early onset of even undiagnosed Alzheimers) impacting a Judge’s required judicial temperament , etc.


Unless Specially Noted, all the signers below are not employees of the Judiciary or attorneys, but are private citizens working for the reform of the courts and the legal system and advocating for the rights of litigants, parents, and others affected by the law.

Jonathon Moseley, Esq.
Attorney at Law
Executive Director
Legal Affairs Council
3601 Jean Street, Fairfax, Virginia 22030
(703) 850-3733 Fax (703) 783-0449
Representing 14,000 Members.
LAC has frequently operated legal defense funds for the defense of police officers, public officials, and others in landmark or potentially precedent-setting prosecutions.

Meryl M. Lanson
Victims of the System and
Legal Victim Assistance Project
Post Office Box 880401
Boca Raton, Florida 33488-0401
(561) 488-7678 Fax: (561) 488-2861

Note that appearing pro se, Meryl Lanson was successful in re-opening a multi-million dollar bankruptcy proceeding on related issues and is maintaining a related multi-million dollar legal malpractice case.

National Coalition for Family Justice
Coalition for Family Justice
821 Broadway
Irvington on Hudson, New York 10533
Contact: Renee Robertson or
Paula Cornacchia, Operations Coordinator
At least 10,000 members
Office: (914) 591-5753 Fax: (914) 591-6981

Dorothy Mataras
Legal Reform Activist
4342 Loveland Drive
Liverpool, New York 13090
Founder & Publisher of Victims-of-Law, Inc.
A New York non-profit corporation

Betsy Combier
""The E-Accountability Foundation 315 East 65th Street, Suite 4CNew York, New York 10021
E-mail: Betsy

Thomas M. Saunders
Bill of Attainder Project
4360 Platter Road
Calera, Oklahoma 74730
Advisor to the National Judicial Conduct Disability Law Project

Dale Nathan, Esq.
Author, Minnesota Injustice, and representing:
(1) The Justice Committee; (2) Judge Our Courts; and (3) The Truth About America Coalition, (4) Minnesota Court Reform
Post Office Box 211284Eagan, Minnesota 55121
(651) 454-0505 Fax: (651) 454-0507
Note that one of Dale Nathan's lawsuits was chosen by Law & Politics Magazine as one of the eleven lawsuits of the year for 2000.

Krstafer Pinkerton
Post Office Box 1643
Koloa, Kauai, Hawaii 96756
(808) 742 6827
Victim of Prosecutorial Misconduct/Non-Attorney

Frank Simard
Past President, New England Coalition for Family Justice
Post Office Box 1546
Plaistow, New Hampshire 03865

Karin Huffer, M.S., M.F.T.
Legal Abuse Syndrome
(702) 528-9588

Ms. Huffer is author of the book “Overcoming the Devastation of Legal Abuse Syndrome.”

Mark A. Adams, Esquire JD/MBA
P.O. Box 1078
Valrico, Florida 33595

Caroline Douglas, Esq.
Attorney and Author, Sneaky Judge Tricks and Lexis-Nexis’ Family Law (Equity Pub. Co.)

Mr. Mike Blodgett
Paralegal, private law firm
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
(215) 290.8038

Mr. Lesley Winston
13095 Biscayne Island Terrace
North Miami, Florida 33181

Mr. Martin Salazar
1341 Freeman Harris Road
Harlem, Georgia 30814
Legal Reform Activist (not employed by Judiciary or attorney)

Meredith Taggart
Miami Shores, Florida

Mr. Laser Haas
Delmar, Delaware

Mary Alice Gwynn, Esq.
Delray Beach, Florida

Norman Lanson
Boca Raton, Florida

Carol Reeth
Westhampton, New York

Sid Soloway
Boca Raton, Florida

Stephanie Ricottone
Oceanside, New York

Christine Carlile and Brian Carlile
Wyckoff, New Jersey

Roseanne Mauro
Frank Mauro
Lake Worth, Florida

Frederick Nielsen
Nielsen & Associates
Tampa, Florida 33606
(813) 251-1620

Jenny Johnson
Creative Funding Solutions
Houston, Texas
[1][1] Not those carrying out their official duties, such as the President or his staff nominating a Judge or Senators voting on the nomination, but those actually advocating for or promoting the Judge’s nomination or confirmation.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Rules Governing Judicial Misconduct and Disability Complaint Proceedings

Attention: The Honorable Ralph Winter


Dear Judge Winter:

I am the Moderator for the blog at I disseminate news to the public, for the public, in their best interests. I have also been very fortunate to have members of the legal profession offer praise and support of my efforts in hopes that positive and constructive change will result, much needed change (reforms) I might add. If you take some time to review the blog, I am confident that you will get a real sense of my determination to keep the public informed as to my efforts, and those of other conscientious, credible advocates for legal and judicial responsibility.

This past August, I posted the U.S. Courts’ request: For Public Comment: Draft Rules Governing Judicial Conduct and Disability Proceedings. I urged the participants viewing the blog to take an active role in the Courts’ request and to voice their comments no later that the requested submission date of October 15, 2007. I, personally, and on behalf of my organizations, Victims of the System, and Legal Victim Assistance Project, participated with a Coalition to bring to your attention, and that of the Committee, our suggestions. Also, I have been following Dr. Richard Cordero’s ongoing efforts, and his participation at the hearing held on September 27, 2007 in the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York. Those posts relevant to Dr. Cordero are also on the blog.

I must assume, by your role as the Chair of this esteemed Committee that you share my vision, and I trust that you, too, support what I am doing. Educating the public and keeping the public informed is what we must do. In that regard, I request a copy of the audio/visual tape and stenographic transcript of the hearing that the Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability of the Judicial Conference of the U.S. held on its draft rules governing judicial misconduct and disability complaint proceedings this past September 27, 2007. Please advise when my request will be available.

The Federal Courts have the power to improve or destroy the lives of individuals, including through precedents, the lives of millions of Americans. The public’s trust must begin to be restored. You have taken the first steps in that endeavor, and I commend you. Have faith that I, too, will continue to diligently pursue this matter with the utmost integrity. I stand ready to assist you and the Committee in our mutual desire to protect the public and keep the public informed.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Meryl M. Lanson
1-561-488-7678 Office
1-561-488-2861 Facsimile

Victims of the System
Post Office Box 880401
Boca Raton, Florida 33488-0401

cc: Mr. Richard Carelli
Administrative Office of The U.S. Courts