Saturday, June 9, 2007


My thanks to the Volokh Conspiracy for fulfilling my purpose in starting a blog. I did so in the hope that I could engage and encourage reasonable and rational discourse on a number of topics in which I had an interest. Responses to my posts were rather meager until this week when the Volokh Conspiracy at the instigation of my former law clerk, Eric Muller, referred to my post on X-Judge: Interrogatories for Prosecutor Fitzgerald. Frankly, I had hoped that prior posts would have created the same kind of activity, but I have learned as a neophyte in the blogoshphere that they need a boost from such respected and recognized sources as The Volokh Conspiracy or Is That Legal?. I thank you both for launching me. I hope that it is only the beginning.

The irony is that it was a comment to the Volokh Conspiracy on the day that Prof. Orin Kerr was kind enough to announce the launching of my blog, that caused me to consider ending it the moment it began. Apropos of nothing James Fulford referred readers to Jonathan R. to learn how wrong my decision was in granting habeas corpus to Rubin "Hurricane" Carter. I do not know Mr. Fulford or the mysterious Jonathan R or their credentials, but the clear suggestion is that there is where the truth can be found.

The article is entitled: WHAT'S WRONG WITH JUDGE SAROKIN'S DECISION? PLENTY! The "truth" is placed side-by-side with a column entitled: What Sarokin Says. I have no intention nor the time to go back and review my decision (incidentally written almost 25 years ago) to determine whether or not the quotes attributed to me are accurate. But to take just a few for example, I cannot visualize my saying in an opinion:

"Lieutenant DeSimone's testimony on Carter's account of his whereabouts cannot be believed for some reason." or
"Anna Brown perjured herself to help her daughter marry a policeman."

I know a little bit about my own writing style, and those sure don't sound like me. But even if accurate, virtually none of the "inaccuracies and misstatements" have anything to do with the basis for my decision. I found that the prosecutor made an improper appeal to racism in his closing, and that a false report regarding a lie detector test was used to manipulate a witness (Bello) to return to his original testimony at the first trial that he was outside the bar when the shootings took place and not inside as he was prepared to testify at the second trial (and if my recollection is wrong here---the opinion speaks for itself.)

There, indeed, may be factual inaccuracies in my opinion. (The record was over 140,000 pages.)There also are others who disagree with the conclusion, but what astonished and disheartened me was the source of Jonathan R.'s "truth". He did not refer to the lengthy record, the petitioner's briefs and submissions, the unanimous affirmance of my decision by the United States Court of Appeals, nor the denial of cert. by The United States Supreme Court. No, his sole source to conclude that my decision was wrong was the brief of the prosecutor!----the losing party! If that is the test, then I am certain one would conclude that all of my decisions denying habeas corpus relief were also wrong, if one simply compared them against the petitioner's brief.

I do not want to spend my time sticking my thumb in the dike of every criticism that flows out against me, but sometimes when someone else's finger pokes me in the eye, I feel the need to respond. (As I did with the National Review- see X-Judge THE NATIONAL REVIEW RE-TRASHES ME). I know that being out here in space makes me vulnerable, but I hope I can spend the time discussing the issues rather than defending my past---- of which, incidentally I am very proud.

My thanks again to Eugene Volokh, Orin Kerr and Eric Muller for giving me the opportunity to be heard, even though I have found that in blogging ---- it is better to give than receive.

1 comment:

That Lawyer Dude said...

Aw heck Judge, your decision in the Carter case was the right one. History has proven it. Moreover, there was so much prejudice and so much else wrong with that prosecution that the only shock was no one had overturned it in the state before it got to you.

BTW, that case was without a doubt one of the most important reasons I decidede to study and practice criminal law. I admired the intestinal fortitude it took to render that decision then, and I see far too little of it on the bench today. Keep the faith and keep on blogging