Friday, February 25, 2022


I have a friend who often makes comments about how oppressed women are by men. For example, she recently stated that the whole Viagra/Cialis/etc industry is about men dominating women. Which I found interesting because I had always thought of it as an industry whose very existence is to make women happy, After all I remember Elisabeth Dole, the wife of former senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole, and head of the American Red Cross response to her husband appearing in advertisements promoting Viagra.

The funny thing to me is that my friend, who is on her third marriage, is completely dependent on her husband both financially and in life. She doesn't even drive because, well she doesn't have to as her husband can do that for her. 

Everyone perceives reality in their own way. 

Friday, February 18, 2022

Frank Serpico's Story Is Still Relevant

Although perhaps not as well known today, the 1973 movie Serpico about New Your City police detective Frank Serpico's effort to expose corruption in the police force, was at one time well known by virtually everyone. Maybe it should be again. 

In testimony before the Knapp Commissions, which was set up to look into his allegations, Serpico testified:

Through my appearance here today ... I hope that police officers in the future will not experience ... the same frustration and anxiety that I was subjected to ... for the past five years at the hands of my superiors ... because of my attempt to report corruption. I was made to feel that I had burdened them with an unwanted task. The problem is that the atmosphere does not yet exist, in which an honest police officer can act ... without fear of ridicule or reprisal from fellow officers. Police corruption cannot exist unless it is at least tolerated ... at higher levels in the department. Therefore, the most important result that can come from these hearings ... is a conviction by police officers that the department will change. In order to ensure this ... an independent, permanent investigative body ... dealing with police corruption, like this commission, is essential ...

The commission concluded that Serpico's allegations were substantially correct. 

Corruption sadly still exists in many police departments today but no where more so that in the family court system.  

What happened to Frank Serpico? 

Serpico was shot during a drug arrest attempt on February 3, 1971, at 778 Driggs Avenue, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Four officers from the Brooklyn North police command had received a tip that a drug deal was about to take place. Two policemen, Gary Roteman and Arthur Cesare, stayed outside, while the third, Paul Halley, stood in front of the apartment building. Serpico climbed up the fire escape, entered by the fire escape door, went downstairs, listened for the password, then followed two suspects outside.

The police arrested the young suspects, and found one had two bags of heroin. Halley stayed with the suspects, and Roteman told Serpico, who spoke Spanish, to make a fake purchase attempt to get the drug dealers to open the door. The police went to the third-floor landing. Serpico knocked on the door, keeping his hand on his revolver. The door opened a few inches, just far enough to wedge his body in. Serpico called for help, but his fellow officers ignored him.

Serpico was then shot in the face by the suspect with a .22 LR pistol. The bullet struck just below the eye, lodging at the top of his jaw. He fired back, striking his assailant, fell to the floor, and began to bleed profusely. His police colleagues refused to make a "10-13" dispatch to police headquarters, indicating that an officer had been shot. An elderly man who lived in the next apartment called the emergency services, reporting that a man had been shot, and stayed with Serpico. When a police car arrived, aware that Serpico was a fellow officer, they transported him in the patrol car to Greenpoint Hospital.

The bullet had severed an auditory nerve, leaving him deaf in one ear, and he has since suffered from chronic pain from bullet fragments lodged in his brain. He was visited the day after the shooting by Mayor John V. Lindsay and Police Commissioner Patrick V. Murphy, and the police department harassed him with hourly bed checks. He later testified before the Knapp Commission.

The circumstances surrounding Serpico's shooting were quickly called into question. Serpico, who was armed during the drug raid, had been shot only after briefly turning away from the suspect, when he realized that the two officers who had accompanied him to the scene were not following him into the apartment, raising the question whether Serpico had actually been taken to the apartment by his colleagues to be murdered. There was no formal investigation. Edgar Echevarria, who had shot Serpico, was subsequently convicted of attempted murder. On May 3, 1971, New York Metro Magazine published an article, "Portrait of an Honest Cop", about him, a week before he testified at the departmental trial of an NYPD lieutenant accused of taking bribes from gamblers.

Speaking out agaisnt corruption is risky. 

Saturday, February 12, 2022

When Lawyers Criticize Judges

What happens when a lawyer criticizes a judge for inappropriate behavior?  More often than you think they are retaliated against. Because of this, attorneys are reluctant to ever speak out against judges no matter how bad they are. Which is a clear violation of the lawyers rules of professional conduct as the rules obligate attorneys to report misconduct. It is a vicious cycle of every increasing ethical and criminal acts within the justice system.  It is fosters a culture of corruption which becomes self-perpetuating. 

At the very least, the state of free speech in the legal profession in 2022 strongly counsels caution before a lawyer criticizes judges for their political leanings, integrity, intellect or motivation. 

I talked to a lawyer once about my case who said reporting ethical or criminal violations by fellow lawyers or judges in family court was career killing. It just isn't done despite the rules and law.

Saturday, February 5, 2022

The Unreliability Of Memory

Most people believe memory functions like a recording. Sure the image may degrade over time but what is there is essentially a true representation of what happened. The truth is that memory does not work that way. Not at all.  Memory is a  or model of what happened which is recreated from sparse data stored in the brain each time it is brought into consciousness. Furthermore the model changes each time a memory is recalled. 

Indeed it is quite easy to change people's memory or even create entirely new ones.  

"We can easily distort memories for the details of an event that you did experience," says Loftus. "And we can also go so far as to plant entirely false memories - we call them rich false memories because they are so detailed and so big."

She has persuaded people to adopt false but plausible memories - for instance, that at the age of five or six they had the distressing experience of being lost in a shopping mall - as well as implausible ones: memories of witnessing demonic possession, or an encounter with Bugs Bunny at Disneyland. Bugs Bunny is a Warner Brothers character, and as the Los Angeles Times put it earlier this year, "The wascally Warner Bros. Wabbit would be awwested on sight", at Disney.

This is the reason I am so disappointed with our legal system. Not so much for its reliance on people's memories, but for its dismissal of hard evidence which does not rely on memory. I have unassailable evidence Nelly Wince committed fraud but this was totally ignored by the court. Furthermore both the county attorney and his criminal division director lied in writing in an attempt to cover it up.