Dear Professor Bernofsky:
I sat through your entire video, and was most impressed by your extremely scholarly and articulate presentation of the particular facts and circumstances of your cases.
I can assure that an overwhelming majority of members of the Judiciary would have recused themselves under the same or similar circumstances. Please do not cast aspersions against that majority.
In every profession, and I guess in yours as well, there are some members thereof who do not uphold the high ethical standards expected of them. That includes your original attorneys who apparently abandoned your cases for personal economic fears, rather than vigorously defend their client's right to seek justice. I applaud Chief Judge King for standing up in support of high ethical standards for the Judiciary.
You are to be congratulated for continuing the good fight for justice for others, although you have exhausted every legal forum available to you in your own litigation processes.
There is an old saying, that if you cannot fight them from without, join them and fight them from within. That is what Carolyn McCarthy did when she hopelessly fought for tougher federal gun control laws after the tragic death of her husband and maiming of her son by a crazed killer on the Long Island Railroad. When she could not get Congress to address the problem, she ran for Congress in 1996, and won. Thereafter, she has been successful in enacting much legislation in the area of gun control. She still serves as a Congressperson from New York.
Perhaps, you might consider following her to Washington. As my late Mother used to say, "You never know, unless you try."
For several years, I served as Chair of the Legislation Committee of the American Judges Association, which is a national organization of Judges from all jurisdictions. May I suggest that you visit its web site. Call Shelley Rockwell, its Secretariat at the National Center for State Courts. Tell her that I suggest that you call her. Ask her what current Committee of AJA would handle suggested legislation that involves the Judiciary. There is also a Committee that handles the issue of access to the courts. Contact both Chairs to see if you can interest them in your cause. You could also write a Letter to the Editor of Court Review Magazine, AJA's publication, urging support for your proposed legislation. If you do, I suggest that you not make it a personal crusade against a particular Jurist or involve your personal circumstances, but rather a generalized non-personal plea to avoid conflicts of interest. All of this information will be on the web site.
You may also wish to contact the Chairs of the appropriate Committees of the American Bar Assn. and the American Association for Justice (Formerly, the American Trial Lawyers Assn.- ATLA). You can get the contact information from their respective web sites.
Under other circumstances, I would be delighted to sign your Petition. However, I still serve as a Hearing Officer in the New York State Supreme Court. Thus, I am unable to be a signatory to any Petition. I am certain that you understand.
Good luck in your endeavor. Keep me posted on your progress.
JUSTICE IRA J. RAAB (Retired)
June 30, 2008
(Email from email@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.org)