I was struck by the irony that in Communist China, the government had to crack down on the efforts of a “group of lawyers who sought to hold the government to its own legal standards by exposing human rights violations, case by case.” The government held a human-rights lawyer for more than a year and only “released” her when she confessed to her crimes, a fate affecting more than 300 other advocates and their family members.
In the U.S., a litigant who is the victim of human-rights and due-process violations in a court procedure is repressed much more stealthily. Their only options are to take a chance on a narrowly-focused, costly, and time-consuming appeal, or file a complaint to their local disciplinary commissions on attorney and judicial conduct.
As the annual reports of these commissions reveal, these efforts are largely futile because they are manned by fellow attorneys and judges who rudimentarily dismiss the majority of cases. Very few complaints result in “formal legal proceedings.” The legal fraternity is close-knit and self-protective.
If these complaints were ever reviewed by an objective rule-of-law-centered body, it would reveal that judges — and the lawyers they protect — have shocking and undeserved immunity from prosecution of their pervasive abuses. It is the legal equivalent of the “1 percent” who holds all the power. Where are our own judges and lawyers in America who will take a stand and fight for the “freedom and justice for all” we were guaranteed in our democracy?