The Florida Bar fined lawyer Sean Conway $1,200

Jonathan Turley

Florida Supreme Court Upholds Sanction Against Lawyer Who Called Judge a "Witch" on a Blog

Res ipsa loquitur ("The thing itself speaks")
September 30, 2007


Florida State bar authorities have fined trial lawyer Sean Conway $1,200 for criticizing Ft. Lauderdale Judge Cheryl Aleman on a blog, including calling Conway an "evil, unfair witch." We previously discussed this case, here. The ruling is a major blow to free speech and another case of courts or the bar overreaching in punishing lawyers and parties for their criticism of judges. What is particularly interesting is that Aleman has been charged with misconduct by the Judicial Qualifications Commission.

Judge Aleman

Conway was apparently fed up Aleman’s mistreatment of lawyers and unreasonable orders. This includes her alleged habit of refusing defendants reasonable time to prepare for trial and then insisting, if they wanted to prepare, that they waive their constitutional right to a speedy trial: "She was giving people one week to prepare for trial and as soon as the blog exposed it through powerful words she stopped it. And that’s why I stand by what I did." What he did was in Oct. 2006, on Jaablog, he called her an "evil, unfair witch" and described her "ugly, condescending attitude." The contents of the posting are linked below, but the posting includes five specific remarks raised by the Bar.

Read more       Link to Jaablog


Note: Conway's blog post is gone, but found here in PDF.

Florida Bar Attacks Freedom of Speech
New Times blogs

By Bob Norman

Dec. 13 2007 

I don't use the word "outrage" very often, but this is an outrage. Lawyer Sean Conway exposed a horrendous practice by Judge Cheryl Aleman -- a piss-poor judge by any standard -- and for performing that public service the Florida Bar might take his law license away.

The Bar's repulsive message: When it comes to judges in America, freedom of speech goes out the window. Call a judge an "evil witch" and you lose your livelihood? Not in my country. Read more


Note: Conway's blog post is gone, but found here in PDF.

Florida Lawyer May be Disbarred for Criticizing Judge in Blog - While Judge Stands Trial for Judicial Misconduct

Res ipsa loquitur ("The thing itself speaks")
December 14, 2007


There is a bizarre fight brewing in Florida between a lawyer and judge over their respective alleged misconduct. Lawyer Sean Conway faces discipline for attacking Judge Cheryl Alemán is facing possible discipline before the Judicial Qualifications Commission. At issue are not just standards of professional and judicial conduct, but the first amendment.

Conway’s problems began with an entry on his blog on Halloween 2006 where he described Alemán’s "ugly, condescending attitude" and questioned her mental stability. He described how she made lawyers choose between unreasonable trial dates or waiving their clients’ rights to a speedy trial. He also described her an "evil, unfair witch." He also added: "She is clearly unfit for her position and knows not what it means to be a neutral arbiter." Read more


Note: Conway's blog post is gone, but found here in PDF.

TFB v Conway, Consent Judgment
Case No. SC08-326, May-12-2008
TFB v Conway, Consent Judgment, Case No.[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [104.2 KB]
TFB v Conway, Report of Referee
Case No. SC08-326, Jun-11-2008
TFB v Conway, Report of Referee, Case No[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [208.3 KB]
TFB v Conway, Public Reprimand
Case No. SC08-326
TFB v Conway, Public Reprimand, Case No.[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [50.7 KB]
TFB v Conway, Supreme Court Order
Case No. SC08-326, Oct-29-2008
TFB v Conway, Supreme Court Order, Case [...]
Adobe Acrobat document [41.5 KB]


An End to Fraud On The Court

This Blog is intended to keep the public informed as to our efforts to secure Congressional Hearings for "Fraud on the Court."

The information and opinion about Petition of FLORIDA STATE BAR ASS'N is from the website of Able Legal Forms, and is not the opinion of the Justice Network. The information and opinion is provided by the Justice Network solely as a public service.


Link to information and opinion on Able Legal Forms



[40 So.2d 902, 1949 Fla.SCt 374]   
Petition of FLORIDA STATE BAR ASS'N et al.
Supreme Court of Florida, en Banc.
Decided June 7, 1949.


This document records the official surrender, on June 7, 1949, of Florida's third branch of government, the Supreme Court of Florida, to a private professional trade group formerly known as the Florida State Bar Association and now known as The Florida Bar. This government takeover set the stage for the present day graft and corruption now found in Florida's judicial system.

Since the signing of this court order, The Florida Bar has amassed over 35 million dollars in private assets, not the property of the state. Annual membership dues from The Florida Bar's present day membership exceed 11.5 million dollars. All this loose unregulated cash in the hands of Florida Bar leaders, absent legislative control of its use, has created an oppressive monster and has fed the corruption and judicial abuse presently experienced by members and non-members of The Florida Bar.

This order enabled a private professional trade association to establish a monopoly in the dissemination of information to the public about our laws and our legal system and enabled the use (abuse) of the power of the State to put down Bar members' competition, under color of law.  At the time of the signing of this order of surrender, 27 judicial branches of other states had already fallen victim to the same scheme.

Persons not members of The Florida Bar who criticize the status quo or challenge the monopoly are charged with the unlicensed practice of law (UPL) and are prosecuted without due process of law and are denied a jury trial.  Members are usually harassed by their peers and/or are threatened by Bar leaders if they should attempt to expose the ugly truth, with their "licenses" to practice law placed in jeopardy.

As a result, our state and federal judicial systems have become a forum for only the wealthy and the powerful.  Persons of lesser financial status only receive the amount of "justice" their bank accounts can buy.  Our system of justice has been reduced to nothing more than a government-protected racket designed to enrich a select few.  In other words and in simple terms, justice is for sale in Florida, but it is not "on sale."

Read on and learn how all this started with the help of the American Judicature Society and is perpetuated by the American Bar Association and the "unified" state bar associations, then contact your legislators and the Governor's Office.  Demand action to remedy this nation-wide travesty of justice. Read more

Bar Pres 2011 Downs

Hold on Tight to What We Have
Florida Bar Journal
March, 2011 Volume 85, No. 3
by Mayanne Downs

Brace yourself. We’re in for another wild ride fighting for the judiciary as a co-equal third branch of government — and not just another state agency.

The Florida Legislature is back in session, and lawmakers are constrained by a budget shortfall of at least $3.6 billion and a new governor insistent on cutting $2 billion in taxes and $5 billion in spending.

We’ve got to hold on tight to what we already have for the judicial branch, while seeking a more stable long-term funding source not so dependent on foreclosure filing fees. 


Here’s what we have for fiscal year 2010-11: $370 million in the State Courts Revenue Trust Fund, fueled largely by revenues from foreclosure filings that are, at least temporarily, declining — which is about 84 percent of the total $439.6 million state courts budget. But the governor’s budget removes the clerks from the state budget, returning to the way things were before the trust fund: funding clerks from filing fees and fines at the local level.

And the governor wants to cut nearly $39.6 million from the courts: 574 lost support staff positions for judges.

After two years of major budget cuts, in 2009, at the request of the court and legal profession, the legislature provided a dedicated source of state revenue to fund operations of the judicial branch. This trust fund is essential because the court system’s budget is almost entirely devoted to compensation for judges and court staff, and to expenses directly related to resolving cases. But, as Chief Justice Charles Canady told the Senate Judiciary Committee, once the foreclosure mess is mopped up, “it would be our goal in the judiciary to find a more stable, long-term funding source for us.”

While $439.6 million is real money, let’s remind lawmakers searching for budget cuts that the court system budget is only seven-tenths of 1 percent of Florida’s overall state budget. I’ve been traveling around our state talking about this subject, and very few of us, even lawyers, know how miniscule the courts’ budget is, particularly when you consider what’s at stake: Citizens’ access to their courts — from the poorest pro se litigant to the biggest corporation. A fair and impartial judiciary, the very foundation of our system of governance. Timely resolution of disputes that keeps business humming.

What’s new to worry about this session is proposed legislation — S.B. 290 by Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey — that would reduce pensions for elected officials, including Supreme Court justices and all judges on the trial and appellate benches. This is particularly worrisome because the wages of Florida’s trial judges are nearly $16,000 lower than a 50-state model in statistical testing and analysis conducted by The Florida Chamber Foundation for The Florida Bar.

As part of the study, The Washington Economics Group surveyed current judges and attorneys to explore issues that impact the retention and recruitment of judges in Florida. A commitment to public service and the honor of the office were the top reasons given for wanting to be a judge. Good, experienced lawyers who seek such public service could make more money in private practice. But an additional incentive frequently reported is receiving the attractive retirement and benefits package now offered by the state.

Chief Justice Canady told the senators that it’s possible to fill the judgeships with a reduced compensation package. But, he so rightly said, “It’s not a question of filling seats that are on the bench. It’s a question of having highly qualified people on the bench. When I think about the power that an individual circuit judge has over the lives of the people who come before that circuit judge, it is something that absolutely requires a person who is highly qualified.”

Highly qualified judges and a court system funded adequately to carry out its crucial mission. That’s what we lawyers hold dear, and no matter how tough the fight over dollars becomes in the legislature, we simply can’t let go.

The Florida Bar, President Downs’ email in PDF
March 19, 2011
Florida Bar-Pres-Downs March 19-2011 ema[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [26.2 KB]

Florida's Bar Exam: Ensuring Racial Disparity, Not Competence
The Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, by Rachel L. Gregory
Date Friday, July 1, 2005

On March 20, 2003, the Supreme Court of Florida adopted changes to the Rules of the Supreme Court regarding admissions to the bar, including a change that raised the passing score from 131 to 136.1 In its published opinion explaining the changes, the Court specifically found that the increase in the passing score would not have a disparate gender, racial, or ethnic impact.2 According to the dissenting opinion, however, the evidence supporting that contention is untrustworthy.3 Indeed, the majority cited only two statistics, neither of which included references to gender impact, and yet the Court firmly denied that any disparate gender or racial impact was possible. Read more



Former attorney Bill Corbin charges the Florida Supreme Court and other public officials with corruption and obstruction of justice.



The following 14 paragraphs address the issue of corruption and dysfunctionality. All of the analysis is from credible sources-- bar publications, the mainstream press, mainstream organizations on the Web, or in the case of my legal affairs, legal case papers.

You will find the bar publications in paragraphs 3, 5, 10 and 14, alone, go far towards establishing grounds for contending that the legal profession is the most corrupt and dysfunctional. When supplemented by the other sources, one is left with no doubt.