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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

December 8, 2005

Dec. 9th is St. John Roberts Day

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 10:43 pm

Even if you’re not among those who pray regularly for our courts

and judges — or are among those who pray not at all — you might

want to note in passing that December 9th is the Catholic Church’s




As we pointed out last September, St. John Roberts:

– had ancestors who were princes of Wales


– was raised Protestant


– studied law at the Inns of Court when he was 21, and

later that year converted to Catholicism while in France


– worked among London plague victims


– was arrested and exiled several times for performing his priestly

duties and associating with Catholic rebels.  


– was finally convicted for the crime of “priesthood” in 1610, and

was martyred (hanged, drawn, and quartered). 


– has two fingers [of his otherwise missing corpse] preserved at Downside

Abbey and Erdington Abbey (we don’t know which two fingers and

we don’t vouch for this or any other saintly body parts kept as relics)


– was canonized as a saint by Pope Paul VI, in 1970, as part of

a group known as the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales


If the patience and humility of St. John Roberts had anything to do with his     JohnRobertsPix

namesake’s new blow on behalf of Plain English on the Supreme Court, the

f/k/a Gang raises our eyes toward heaven and sends up a thank you. 




all sorts of fools
moon-gaze too…
winter prayers







ain’t a devil
ain’t a saint…
just a sea slug


Kobayashi Issa —  translated by David G. Lanoue  





this body of mine

part temple

part tavern








        the old priest dines

                his wine

                just wine




“this body” – Dewdrop World (2005; free download)

“the old priest dines” – the thin curve:; Modern Haiku XXX: 1



twins nov51 small    Your Editor probably would not have remembered

this date, except that it falls on the birthday of his [twin] brother, (who

still doesn’t have a website for me to link to).  Happy 56th Birthday, Arthur!


p.s. With all this talk of saints and martyrs, here’s a reminder: we’re

still looking for more law school exam prayers.





are nurses switching to law?

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 3:36 pm

As you may have seen, this year’s Gallup Poll on “Honesty and Ethical Ratings

of People in Different Professions” (Gallup News Service, Dec. 5, 2005) found

nurses again firmly on top, with lawyers far behind.


trust me flip


Americans were asked “to rate the honesty and ethical standards of members of 

professions on a five-point scale that ranges from “very high” to “very low.”  Eighty-

two percent said that Nurses rated High or Very High, while only 18 percent put

Lawyers at the high end of honesty and ethics.  On the other hand, thirty-five percent

of those surveyed said Lawyers have Low or Very Low honesty and ethics, while a

mere three percent rated Nurses that low. 


Given those results, I had to follow up, when I discovered yesterday that someone

had Googled how do i become a lawyer as a registered nurse>. [By the way, the 

 # 1 result out of 1.75 million was an f/k/a post that mentioned Mary Coffin, who

switched from nursing to law in her 40s.]  My quick research turned up a 2001 article

from the Detroit News entitled “Weary nurses find jobs, joy in other professions.”   The

article quoted Barbara Redman, dean of the Wayne State University School of Nursing,

saying that nurses may be leaving traditional clinical roles, but they aren’t “abandoning

their public service role of caring for patients.”  The article then states:

‘Ann Mandt, a Detroit attorney and registered nurse, agreed: ‘I’m doing the   “ivstand”

same thing I did as a nurse. I’m taking care of patients’.”

According to her firm profile, at the plaintiff’s personal injury firm of Charfoos & Christen-

sen, Mandt “is involved in all areas of practice, including medical malpractice, drug

products litigation, legal malpractice, mass tort and multiple/complex litigation.”  I

wonder how many of those surveyed for Gallup’s poll would consider that to be “doing

the same thing I did as a nurse . . . taking care of patients”?



ambulance   My web search also located the interesting case of Michael Latigona, a critical

care ambulance transport Registered Nurse, who was recently a  gubernatorial candidate

in New Jersey and has just announced formation of the One New Jersey Party.  At a

candidate information website, which makes its reports “based on submissions by the

candidate to the Eagleton Insitute of Politics,”  I learned that Marlton resident Latigona

“has more ethics and morals than any person we have ever known in the political arena.” 

In addition he “has taken up the study of law, although he admits ethically he could not

become a lawyer.:  He states,

“I could not in good faith become a lawyer, although I have always wanted to.

I cannot lie or embellish to represent a client. It’s just not in my nature to do

so. Rather than going home and reading a book like the DaVinci Code, I go

home and read New Jersey statutes, interpret court decisions, and follow the

latest in legal decisions and legislation. I love the law, and know exactly how

to use it for all New Jerseyan’s. I’ve studied it for over ten years now.”

. . . .                                                           


“Who do you think will do the job better, a businessman, a lawyer, or a Regis-

tered Nurse who places people first, knows the law, and exactly how to use it?”

The website concludes — apparently based on candidate-submitted materials —  

that “Latigona has an acute awareness of how to use the law, and how New Jersey-

an’s can benefit from someone like himself who chooses to use the power of an

elected position to get the job done.”  At Latigona’s former campaign website we learn

that he will run for Mayor or Town Council in 2006, and he “vows if Governor elect Jon

Corzine does not fulfill his promises, he will start a recall in one year as law allows.”


Where is this post going?  Darned if I know.  It’s difficult to say whether disgruntled   

nurses will find career satisfaction in the law, much less joy.  I do believe, however,

that Americans will continue to trust nurses more than lawyers for as long as they

believe that nurses choose their profession in order to serve and lawyers choose theirs

in order to attain wealth, power and status.







tiny fevered brow –
the tick of the clock

measuring the night





wishing fountain

outside the cancer clinic:

some heads, some tails









fire-side poetry –
I turn to warm the left side
of my brain






morning snowflakes






“fire-side poetry” – Raw NerVZ Haiku Volume VII No. 3

“mammogram” – The Heron’s Nest IV:2

“wishing fountain” – Frogpond XXV: 1

“tiny fevered brow” – In the Light, from the haibun Boots




tiny check At his weblog today, Prof. Bainbridge decided to take one anecdote and

try to turn it into a blanket condemnation of what he calls “socialized medicine.”

As is often the case (1) Steve leaves his analytical tools elsewhere when one of

his pet peeves is involved; and (2) a number of his Commentors do a good job

of explaining reality to him.  Good, ’cause I’m too tired to try.



                                                                                                                              ambulance f


acerbic family court judge censured

Filed under: pre-06-2006,Schenectady Synecdoche — David Giacalone @ 10:56 am

Jo Anne Assini has been a Family Court judge for Schenectady County, NY,
where I reside, since January 2001. In those five years, I have not heard even
one positive thing about her work as a judge from lawyers or court personnel.
Instead, her foul mood and temper have been a source of regret for those who
make a living and/or seek justice, fairness, and solutions from that court. [Assini
was an Assistant District Attorney prosecuting sex crimes when I last
practiced at Family Court, and I have no memory of interactions with her.]

witch brew It was not at all surprising to learn, last week, that the NYS Commission on Judicial Conduct had filed formal charges against Judge Assini earlier this year, after receiving five formal complaints from litigants, and had concluded — based on stipulated facts and outcome — that she deserved censure for her conduct on the bench. In re Jo Anne Assini (NYSCJC, Nov. 18, 2005) (See
North Country Gazette, “Judge Assini Censured for Intemperate Behavior, Rights Violations,” Dec. 2,2005)

In addition to the frequent failure to apprise parties of their right to counsel, Judge Assini was very often rude and disrespectful to those who appeared before her. Like a bully, she was especially likely to show her foul mood to parties appearing without counsel. The SCJC opinion notes:

“Every judge has an obligation to respect and comply with the
law and to act in a manner that inspires public confidence in the
fair-mindedness and impartiality of the judiciary. . . In Family Court,
“where matters of the utmost sensitivity are often litigated by those
who are unrepresented and unaware of their rights” . . . such a duty
is self-evident and compelling. In several cases respondent violated
these ethical standards by neglecting to inform litigants of their statutory
rights and by addressing them in an intemperate, demeaning manner.”

” . . As the Commission and the Court of Appeals have repeatedly held, a pattern of failing to advise litigants of the right to counsel and assigned counsel is serious misconduct.

“The record also establishes that respondent violated her duty to be
“patient, dignified and courteous” to litigants in her court (Rules, �100.3
[B][3]). The transcripts depict a series of rude, demeaning remarks by
respondent to litigants in custody and visitation proceedings who came
to Family Court seeking a fair hearing before an impartial jurist. In one
case respondent told the litigants that she was “so bored” and “so sick”
of the case and spoke to the litigants angrily and impatiently when they
could not agree on a visitation schedule. In another case she criticized a

litigant who was wearing his college security [guard] shirt, telling him thathe looked like a “slob,” that “normal people” would have worn something “decent” and that he could buy a shirt or tie at the City Mission for fifty cents.

“It appears that respondent was particularly harsh towards unrepresented
litigants, addressing them in an intimidating, sarcastic manner. Indeed, in two cases (Charges I and IV) the parties actually discontinued their proceedings because of respondent’s impatience and discourtesy, apparently despairing of receiving a fair and just hearing in respondent’s court.”

The Commission pointed out that Judge Assini came on the 2-judge court
at a time when it was temporarily short one judge and facing a large backlog.
Nonetheless, it pointed out::

“While court congestion and the stress of dealing with a large backlog she inherited may have adversely affected respondent’s judicial performance, these factors do not excuse her demeaning comments to litigants and her disregard of important statutory procedures.

“In mitigation, we note that respondent has expressed remorse for her actions and that she now appropriately advises all statutorily eligible litigants of the right to counsel and assigned counsel.

“By reason of the foregoing, the Commission determines that the appropriate disposition is censure.”

coyote moon small Some readers will say that Judge Assini is really not much different from other judges, but I disagree — at least if my own experience is a guide. Here in Schenectady County, there have been three other Family Court judges since I arrived in 1988, and I have often been quite impressed with their judicial temperament and patience, in the face of very trying situations. Litigants who are not successful will always gripe about this or that judge, and I believe lawyers and staffers are a better gauge of a judge’s propriety on the bench. The Family Court community’s universal disappointment over Judge Assini suggests that she was indeed an outlier. Whether censure — the second most serious form of discipline for judges — is sufficient, I will leave for others to decide.

Let me make a few quick points:

  • Family Court judges need to be especially sensitive and respectful, and able to deal with parties who are under great personal stress.
  • Judges dealing with pro se litigants also need to be on their best behavior — extra training is now offered in many jurisdictions. I hope that the Internet can help make judges aware that lack of respect for litigants and displays of temper can get you disciplined — or, at least, shamed.

In a speech given when she was inducted into her high school’s Hall of Fame in 2004, Jo Anne Assini emphasized that “in order to succeed, you have to TRY. And you’ll probably have to fail, as I did so many times. You must never, never, never quit.” (“The Courage to Fail,” 2004 Niskayuna High School Graduation)

gavel neg She showed a bit of her prickly nature in the speech, when she noted ” I didn’t win any moot court competitions, though I came very close, and in senior trials, the judge told me I was too aggressive (something he didn’t tell any of the men in the competition…);”.

However, Judge Assini ended the speech with advice I hope she takes to heart now for herself. After noting that “The first time I ran for judge, I didn’t just lose, I was crushed,” she wisely points out:

“I realized that what people remembered about you was HOW you handled losing.”

The public and the legal community in Schenectady County hope Judge Assican greatly improve her behavior. If not, we hope she’ll decide that she can do more for the community and the profession off the bench.


contempt of court lawyer cellphone small
the lawyer hopes Her Honor
can’t read his mind

…….. by dagosan at simply senryu

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