Before I go into detail about any of the cases I am going to discuss, I want to make it clear that this blog is an exercise in free speech and the comments I am making are truthfull, to the best of my ability from actual cases in which I have been involved, most of which are in the public record and are in the context of litigation and as such are protected free speech. One can not be sued for telling the truth in court, otherwise no one would be willing to testify about anything. People may not like my opinions, but that is exactly what they are, my opinions and to retaliate in any way by anyone constitutes actionable slander if those comments are false.This blog is not meant to be a reflection on honest, hard working and compassionate lawyers who have a sincere desire to see that their clients get justice in the courts.
That being said, I think it is time for me to tell the truth, as I see it regarding what goes on in “Special Civil Part” in Camden and I can assure you, it is not pretty. The law is frequently ignored, especially if the litigant is poor and doesn’t have an honest and competent lawyer, the likes of whom, I will discuss below. I can not speak of other courts around the country, having testified in just ten states, but I am sure the same thing goes on in other poor districts. The poor are powerless when it comes to getting justice.
An old friend was quick to remind me that the majority of lawyers and judges are honest and competent and want to do what is fair, objective and honest, but I pointed out that it is the other forty-nine percent I worry about, partially with “tongue in cheek”.
Living in Camden County as I do, if a lawyer or client has a legitimate beef with my services they have to come to court in Camden and since my retainer is well below the threshold for the Law Division, that usually means Special Civil Part.
As one who has been a practicing Document Examiner for OVER 40 years, I obviously have been in front A LOT of judges in my 500 court appearances since 1976 and I have to say that the judges I have encountered in Special Civil Part, though not all of them, have been among the worst I have EVER encountered. Given the lack of repercussions of most of their rulings since they usually involve poorer litigants, many of the judges feel say stupid, biased unfair or outright dishonest things on the record, knowing they are not likely to be challenged At the top of the list was judge Laskin, whom MANY attorneys had complained about before he retired. As the story goes, he was a State Senator who got booted out of the Senate by the Norcoss family then begged Governor Whitman to appoint him to the bench, according to a story I read. I wrote a blog about him concerning the case of Hadassa Azizi, a woman who cheated the tax payers of NY out of a million dollars of sales taxes by conspiring with her business partner to forge her signature thinking that somehow excused her from paying sales taxes. The court disagreed and she had to pay $177,000 in taxes from her liquor store. She hired me to render an opinion on her tax documents knowing they were forged by her partner. When she lost in court and, of course never paid me to come to court, she blamed me for losing her case and filed suit to recover the $4300 in fees she paid me and in an unfortunate twist, I had another client with the same name, if you can believe it and I grabbed the wrong file going out the door and was unable to defend myself. This problem could have been easily resolved, if Laskin allowed me to retrieve my file over the lunch break Did Judge Lasking allow me to go back to my office over the lunch break to get the correct file? NOOOO. Did he agree to delay the case even though I asked NINE TIMES ON THE RECORD? N0000!!!!. Every word she uttered on the stand was a TOTAL LIE!!!.
The result was a $4300 Judgment which I appealed myself and argued this in front of the Court of Appeals leading to another absurdity when the judges failed to overturn Laskin’s ruling and allowed Azzizi’s crime and perjury to stand.
There were other absurdities involving Laskin such as the case of Thompson V. Thompson where my client, represented by Betsy Ramos, Esquire of Capehart and Scatcherd brought suit on her client’s behalf suing his own mother. Thompson me when he lost the case, saying he paid me to come to court and I didn’t and he lost as a result. The only problem is, I hired a driver to take me to court in a driving snow storm only to find the court closed. That fact didn’t stop Lasking from finding judgment against me.
Now fast forward to this year when another dishonest lawyer, Eldridge Hawkins filed suit against me to recover moneys he claimed I did not earn, but he didn’t stop there. He went so far as to accuse me of running a criminal enterprise under RICO, the government program designed to arrest mobsters. He sent me a $1000 check to review FORTY PAGES of nomination petitions on an emergency basis over the weekend. This was a PRELIMINARY opinion to see if he had a case. Is anyone that stupid to think that an expert of my experience and credentials(www.DocumentExaminer.Org) would do such an analysis. Well apparently the arbitrator in the case was. I took extensive notes of my initial conversation that I have now located, of the call with Hawkins(Which the NY Supreme Court has ruled has the same legal value as my recording of the call that I can not locate at the moment.) It is clear Hawkins testimony was a total lie, But what amazes me is that Judge Raganes, the Law Division Judge to whom I transferred the case didn’t laugh the guy out of the court room and throw out his case right there-another dishonest lawyer protected by a Camden judge But it gets worse, The judge assigned it to arbitration and arbitrator Ryan found in Hawkins favor because I didn’t have a written contract totally ignoring my testimony with his BS, that even my wife saw through.
These “hearings” are a boondoggle for the courts and they unjustly enrich lawyers(who by the way, are mostly white in black Camden) who do very little and can rule any way they want without fear of consequence. Is it any wonder the same lawyers sign up over and over and over for this work.
What needs to happen is that ANY suit filed in Special Civil, Small Claims by a non attorney, needs to be reviewed by a competent attorney to determine the case has true merit with the proof being presented at the time of the filing.
The unspoken part of all this is the time and expense needed by the defendant to defend such claims, which are often without merit. It is simply not fair for someone to have to pay an attorney hundreds and perhaps even thousands of dollare to defend a case that is without merit, not to mention all the agravation the defendant has to do through which can be damaging to their health.
Please send your opinions to the court in Camden County or any other court you feel has not treated litigants unfailrly because they are poor