Personally I have never lacked for evidence that I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but today’s example seems to really point this out. Not that I really, seriously would have thought of bribing the judge in my divorce … or that I wish he would be sentenced to jail … well maybe for a few months *smile*.
Here’s a guy who not only gives the whole legal profession and justice system a bad name, but sadly, points out the need for you to be a lot more careful about choosing a divorce attorney than you might think.
NEW YORK (AP) — An ex-judge who accepted expensive gifts in exchange for helping fix divorce cases and a former state lawmaker convicted in a scheme to shake down a judicial candidate were sentenced to prison Tuesday. Former Brooklyn state Supreme Court Justice Gerald Garson, 74, was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison. Garson, 74, wept as he asked for leniency, claiming the cigars, cash and other gifts never influenced his decisions. But he also admitted that when he saw hidden-camera videos of his shady dealings in chambers, “I was appalled, embarrassed and ashamed of my demeanor.” Garson was convicted of receiving bribes and accepting rewards for official misconduct but acquitted on four lesser counts. The sentencing judge had no sympathy for him.
I can not emphasize strongly enough the need to treat divorce as the life-changing event that it really is …. especially if Military Pensions, CSRS, or FERS government pensions are involved. One of those $50 “File Your Own Divorce” packets could be the most expensive 50 bucks you ever spend in you life, bar none.
Not every divorce attorney even knows what Federal Pension plans really are and the ins and outs of how they work, so make darn sure you check and check thoroughly into the experience of the lawyer you are considering.
The saddest thing in the featured case above, to me, is not that that Justice Garson “went bad” … these things happen, it’s part of the human experience. The saddest part to me is that the misconduct went on for years and the attorneys for the “losing side” in Judge Garson’s cases apparently did little or nothing. They knew … for sure they knew … it doesn’t take a jurisprudence doctorate to know when you are losing out when you know the points of law you are bringing up are “winners” … but it does take guts to raise the flag within the tight little buddy-buddy community of lawyers and judges. The lack of personal integrity of dozens who had to have known, long ago is what disturbs me.
I guess I need to add another question to my “selecting a divorce attorney” questioning process … “What would you do if it became obvious we where getting shafted by a crooked judge?”