Mr. Thompson kicks off the week with a letter to the ACLU, confirming the oft quoted affirmation that politics makes strange bedfellows. The letter is in the comments section.
Query re: The Bar and Broward Attorney Sean Conway: Should there be any regulatory supervision over what an attorney says about a Judge? Or should it just be a free for all?
Attorneys (are supposed to) occupy a special place in our society. In our practice we are very judicious about what we say to our clients about judges assigned to their case. The door swings both ways on this. A client who has a tough case assigned to a Judge that we believe is very fair and not afraid to grant a motion despite the consequences, may still well end up with a poor result (although hiring us is a step in the right direction.).
Similarly, a client with what appears to be an easy case may have a Judge who we believe is prosecution oriented to the extent they will ignore favorable case law if at all possible.
In those cases we believe, unless the circumstances are extreme, we have a responsibility to not disparage the justice system and try our best and let the client see the outcome in court. However, the Aleman scenario in Broward may well be that extreme situation. We would not have resulted to crass name calling on a blog (far be it from us to do that!). But we would have expressed an unfavorable opinion to the client about the Judge's policy of what we view as pure extortion in the misguided attempt to get clients to waive their rights to speedy trial by threatening them with a trial before their counsel had time to prepare.
But this analysis goes a step further. Assume the Bar exonerated Conway's statements because of Aleman's conduct. The result is a gutting of the Bar's prohibition regarding derogatory comments about Judges. Any Judge who had a case reversed on appeal would be fair game for the worst possible comments about their ability (hmm...we could be on to something here) and any attorney challenged by the Bar would have a sure-fire defense.
Questions of such magnitude are better suited for the wise and learned legislature and experienced Judges.
Ok. We shall stop joking. The serious issue is that unless we as attorneys and Bar members resolve this issue together with the Judiciary, we will have an answer forced upon us by yahoo politicians who never pass up an opportunity to disparage attorneys, especially criminal defense attorneys, to get curry favor with voters.
See You In Court, where we go out of our way to heap tons 'o' praise upon our learned and distinguished robed readers.
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