This review should also appear under the ‘scam’ category. While I cannot affirm all the extensive complaints against RI District Court Chief Justice Jeanne LaFazia in the :Scam” review, I can confirm a number, each violation of the Judicial Canon of Ethics enough to have this judge removed from the bench AND disbarred. That is, were we living in a state that actually had an ethical judiciary and attorney bar of integrity. We do not.
I appeared as defendant in an abusive Eviction case, wherein my apartment was broken into multiple times by Landlord. First, with their key. Subsequently, by breaking the door in with sledge hammer because In put an additional lock on each door. I did so because Landlord, in retaliation for my insisting they provide adequate legal Notice, stopped providing ANY Notice altogether.
I was without adequate hearing aids–I had only one–and could Not hear anything said in court. It is a defendant’s right bto Hear what transpires in court. I politely raised my hand and when directed ti speak to judge LaFazia I was deaf, did not have adequate hearing assistance, and requested I be aloud to sit close to the bench in order to follow. She said “No.” First violation of Judicial Canon of Ethics. A legal action–hearing, trial, etc.– CANNOT proceed if the defendant cannot hear what transpires; or have an interpreter to communicate what transpires,; or hearing- assistance by the court provided; or have an assistant, on computer, typing the court dialogue while sitting next to litigant. That judge LaFazia ignored this most basic of civilities, courtesies and, indeed, by so doing, ‘discriminated’ against me and my disability is an index of the quality of judge she is. And an index of her character. And for such qualities–or lack thereof–she was promoted to Chief Justice of the District Courts.
When I again politely protested that I could not hear the proceedings, she THEN raised her voice in a threatening manner and told me to “shut up” or she would hold me “in contempt.” Really. For advocating, politely, for my Rights Under Law? Something prescribed in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as “Equal Protection and Due Process Under Law.” Something judge LaFazia presumes, arrogantly and despicably, that you, as a poor, disabled defendant, do not know or understand.
After this, both sides had to approach the bench because Judge LaFazia wanted to be CERTAIN that I heard HER Ruling in the matter, despite the entire proceeding being Invalid and Unlawful, because of my explanation above.
When I again asked to speak in my defense, she told me to “be quiet” or “shut up” in a loud and threatening voice. And said if I didn’t she would “hold me in contempt.”
This threat of contempt, generally speaking, involves either jail time, a fine, or both. Being disabled, without much money, as the judge knew, she was threatening me with jail. I had then, and have now, a serious, life- threatening illness. I suffer constant pain, to greater or lesser degree, from the illness as well old injuries. How much effort–and courtesy–would it take for a judge to “inquire into the ‘facts'”? Which is, of course, the purpose and mandate of a judge making determinations, judgments and rulings of law. Too much courtesy for judge LaFazia.
When she threatened me with ‘contempt’ in a loud voice so I was supposed to be intimidated, and buckle under, I looked her squarely in the eye and said, looking her in the eye as I spoke in a stern and somewhat defiant raised voice—“EQUAL PROTECTION AND DUE PROCESS UNDER LAW!”
She buckled, and said, “What do u want?”
And so I told her and got it. Had she just been courteous, civil, we would have been in and out of the courtroom within 10 minutes, as opposed to the 20-30 it took.
There is absolutely NO EXCUSE for this kind of behavior in a judge. And lawyers ALLOW it to flourish, many of them hoping themselves to be a judge one day. So there is ZERO accountability in the RI courts, from my experience. Did my lawyer do anything to protect my Rights Under Law in that courtroom before LaFazia? Not a thing. Tiffany Antoch, of RI Legal Services, was just an apparatchik of LaFazia’s abrogation of my Constitutional Rights. Had actually ‘assisted’ judge LaFazia in abrogating them. In the law it is called ‘suborning’—to ‘secretly equip, ir assist’. From the Latin.
Had attorneys and judges any TRUE respect for the law and our Constitution this could not happen. Would not happen. They r, to a great degree, ambitious for their OWN advancement at the Expense of law and justice. And hence, civil Order.
As the famous attorney Clarence Darrow observed almost a century ago:
‘The greatest threat to the criminal justice system comes not from without but from within.’
Very true. And it has not changed because human nature has not changed.
Historian Lord Acton said that
‘Power tends to corrupt, absolute power tending to corrupt absolutely.’
I think he said ‘tends to’, though I am not certain. I say ‘tends’ because there r exceptions. But not enough of them. Many judges r ‘bullies’, like LaFazia. They mistake their majesty for the courts. Judges r ‘guardians’ of our courts and justice system—or SHOULD be. It is the majesty of Justice– through the principled application of Law, sensibility, and ethical integrity, values that should be held as reverential. Not the arrogant inflated egos of morally deficient and, really, criminally-inclined judges. It’s a disgrace.
Judge LaFazia is an odious blight on the RI judicial system. And she has been promoted for it. This would appear to suggest that what the reviewer of the “Scam” review claimed is True. How could it be otherwise?
If you wish to see a truly just, caring and Fair judge in action watch Judge Pamela Woodcock Pheiffer (sp?). She was, last I saw her, the kind of justice that does credit to jurisprudence everywhere. A wonderful person and a caring, fair-minded judge who seeks to help. I’ve spoken to defendants who have appeared before her, and all of them had praise for her. That should tell you something. Last I knew I believe she was in Washington County. That was 11 years ago. I don’t know where she might be now. I hope the job has not worn her down. Which I imagine it can.
Pamela Woodcock Pheifer should be Chief Justice of the RI District Courts. Maybe one day she will be Chief of the Supreme Court. I think that would be appropriate. But in the meantime, for those lucky to have their case heard by her you have, last I knew, the finest judge you could expect to find. Judge David Goldman is pretty good too, I think.
Learn your Constitutional Rights first. Because those r the ones first broken by corrupt judges. Then learn the particular law. But No Law is Lawful That Violates Any Constitutional Right. And that goes for any judge who violates them, too.