Complaint One: Judge Alice Gibney was the head of the Commission on Judicial Tenure and Discipline which is mainly responsible for the sad moral, legal and ethical state of Rhode Island Judges. The Commission has a history of rubber stamping all sorts of Judicial Misconduct.
All one needs to do is go into many of our courtrooms and watch for a few days. You will see many judges show partiality and intemperance without fear of repercussions. You will see excessive abuse of back room dealings resulting in our courts being, for the most part, secret. A client wanting to remain informed of their proceedings and trying to get into these back room dealings with be met with extreme resistance from court staff, judges and lawyers from both sides.
Lawyers routinely see judges as someone to be feared and appeased regardless of the cost to their clients. A court observer one day saw a judge get irritated at the start of the day. The panic from the lawyers over the judge being irritated was shocking. Comments from lawyers went like this:
"Oh my God, we will never get a decent hearing when he gets like this."
"Oh, shit, I can't afford this, this is a good client, I need a fair fu**ing hearing."
"Fu**, someone had to go and piss him off...FU**!"
The observer only wishes he had a camera. It was a pathetic testimony to the sad state of Rhode Island courts.
Another dirty truth regarding our courts is altered transcripts. Caught.net has heard MANY stories over the years of transcripts being altered...particularly when judicial intemperance and misconduct is at it's worst. Litigants order transcripts to prove it happened and...POOF - it is gone.
Many lawyers, if honest, will tell you they can't be certain Rhode Island judges will follow the law. Lawyers typically describe hearings as, "basically a crap shoot." If a litigant makes mention of a complaint to the Commission On Judicial Tenure And Discipline, terrified lawyers will usually look for ways to dump them as a client. Some judges refuse to follow the law knowingly and deliberately with the reasoning that your right of appeal is your guarantee of due process. Other judges will complicate, delay, confuse or deliberately over-complicate procedure to avoid the simple, timely administration of justice out of pettiness. The commission's actions are proof that self correction of Judges is, for the most part, a farce.
With Pro Se litigants some judges are openly hostile. An observer can sense the obvious relief when judges find a reason to dispose of a Pro Se litigant. Caught has talked to enough Pro Se litigants to know Rhode Island judges DO NOT LIKE OR WANT PRO SE'S TO WIN CASES. God forbid the public catches on to that idea!
Other judges are cordial...UNLESS the Pro Se litigant knows what they are talking about. Then, you will usually see a dramatic shift in attitude and process as they begin putting stumbling blocks in the Pro Se's path via unnecessary complications, twisted arguments and other means to delay or deny justice. Caught has watched as some judges keep complicating and attempting to throw off the Pro Se litigant until they say or do the wrong thing and the judge quickly disposes of the case citing the "harshness of the law." Many Pro Se's will tell you the shocking difference the way the courts handle Pro Se's errors in comparison to the errors of lawyers.
Most lawyers don't even want their clients to show up if they can get away with it. Litigants are shut out of the process and judges, lawyers and many times even court staff see the general public as an inconvenience and annoyance...unless they are willing to lay down and take whatever comes...just or not.
Are all judges and hearings bad? Thankfully no. While many times things go as they should, what is listed on this site is far too common. When the justice system works as it should, it is beautiful. The fact it doesn't happen more than it does is pathetic and shows the dire need we have for proper, effective judicial discipline. Again, anyone doubting what you have read here - check out the Commission on Judicial Tenure and Discipline.