Charles Toutant of the New Jersey Law Journal reports: The New Jersey Supreme Court is seeking input on a proposed rule change that would , if adopted, would change RPC 1.6 to create an exception to the duty to keep client information confidential if that information demonstrates that an innocent person was wrongly convicted of a crime with significant penal consequences. The judiciary is accepting written comments through June 26 on the proposal made public Wednesday. Click through below for a link to the report of the divided Committee.
Lawyers have long sought not only to clarify but to improve the law. So it is with the three great Abrahamic monotheistic faiths – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam They are religions of the book. Scripture is a powerful command, but like the United States Constitution adherents and aspirants find themselves impaled on the products of the founding fathers contradictions. In U.S. law it is between the Enlightenment values of the slave-holding signers of the Declaration of Independence and the protection and acquiescence in racism and chattel slavery embedded in the Constitution of 1787. Only Civil War could end it and even so the post civil war Second Founding was only a qualified success.
Similarly Christianity – a dissenters religion founded on lionization of the victim of an unjust execution has (at least since becoming the religion of empire in 314 AD.) tolerated war and capital punishment. Only in the past few years has the Catechism of the Catholic Church abjured capital punishment.
Evidenced by the practices and justifications claimed by ISIS and Boko Haram Bernard Freamon argues that although freeing slaves is lauded in the Quran the practice – particularly in war – is not definitively abjured. His objective is to spur Islamic scholars and lawyers to develop the foundation in Islamic law for complete abolition, – GWC
Toward the Abolition of Slavery under the Aegis of Islamic Law – The Comparative Jurist William & Mary Law School
by Bernard Freamon (author of Possessed by the Right Hand, The Problem of Slavery in Islamic Law and Muslim Cultures)
by Legal Ethics in Motion
by George W. Conk
When the United States Supreme Court, split along the familiar lines, reversing the courts below, ordered “Per Curiam” that Wisconsin voters who chose mail ballots must have them post-marked by midnight of election day, Tuesday, April 7, the usual alarms rang. Defenders saw a ruling to maintain regular order and ballot integrity; critics saw a partisan effort to reduce voting and aid a Republican seeking to retain a state Supreme Court seat. Of course, neither an effort to save or gain a court seat should motivate the decision on how to conduct an election.
Complaints about the erosion of rule of law are so pervasive that it becomes like the drone note in a dirge. But very so often someone usually quiet raises a voice. Unfortunately it’s usually someone retired or who served in the ancien regime before the debacle. So it was good to hear Michael Horowitz, who is both Chair of the `Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency’ (CIGIE) and the Inspector General at the Department of Justice speak of dismissed Inspector General Michael Atkinson. Horowitz has put his own job on the line. – gwc
DOJ Inspector General backs dismissed IG Atkinson
Michael Atkinson, the Inspector General for the Intelligence Community: “Inspector General Atkinson is known throughout the Inspector General community for his integrity, professionalism, and commitment to the rule of law and independent oversight. That includes his actions in handling the Ukraine whistleblower complaint, which the then Acting Director of National Intelligence stated in congressional testimony was done “by the book” and consistent with the law…
In New York and New Jersey public defenders are playing an essential role: fighting to reduce the populations of people jailed in City and County jails.
Both have had significant success in recent days, as the post above shows. – gwc
Such bluntness evokes the 2004 remarks by Judge Guido Calabresi – former Yale Dean. Calabresi said at a conference that George W. Bush should not be re-elected, that he had become President through the “illegitimate acts of a legitimate institution”. Calabresi later apologized for his remarks, was admonished by Chief Circuit Judge John Walker (a first cousin of Bush 42). Walker’s admonishment was ratified by a 2005 judicial discipline report of the 2d Circuit, 404 F. 3d 668.
While the code of ethics for federal judges allows for public discussion of the law, it prohibits political activity, especially when it deals with candidates for office. U.S. District Judge Lynn S. Adelman’s article said conservative justices are “undermining democracy” while President Donald Trump’s “temperament is that of an autocrat,” Republicans are “focused on serving the wealthy,” and GOP senators display “zealous partisanship [reminiscent of] those fervent defenders of slavery who pushed the South into the Civil War.”
“A judge is making public remarks that can be construed as opposing a sitting president who is running for re-election,” said Arthur Hellman, a University of Pittsburgh law professor who has advised Congress on judicial ethics. “The whole theory of judicial impartiality is not that judges have no views on political and social issues, but that they can separate those personal views from what they do as judges. If judges go out in public and start talking about their political and social views, I think people will legitimately wonder, can they separate them?”
Judge Adelman stood by his article in an interview with Law360 Wednesday.
“Judges are encouraged to talk about current legal issues and problems,” he said, adding that it is “certainly reasonable and important to talk about” Supreme Court decisions.
Nancy Gertner, a former federal judge in Massachusetts who teaches at Harvard Law School, told Law360 that such commentary is part of academic debate.
“You can speak critically about the administration of justice,” she said. “There are many of us who are law professors who have written critically about [a] decision. This is within the zone of what it’s appropriate for a judge to talk about.”
“I just don’t know how they cannot recuse themselves for anything Trump or Trump-related” – Donald Trump speaking of Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Ginsburg
Donald J. Trump
✔@realDonaldTrumpThere has rarely been a juror so tainted as the forewoman in the Roger Stone case. Look at her background. She never revealed her hatred of “Trump” and Stone. She was totally biased, as is the judge. Roger wasn’t even working on my campaign. Miscarriage of justice. Sad to watch!
Gabriel (Jack) Chin at Scotus blog has a good discussion of U.S. v. Sineneng-Smith – a challenge to the Immigration and Nationalities Act which in Section 1324 presents a risk of criminal prosecution to lawyers, advocates, and families of people without a legal right to be in the U.S.
The President’s oath of office is to the laws and constitution. He/she is not the sole receptacle of the power of the executive branch of the executive branch of the United States government. Attorney General Barr has embraced the opposite view. But Bernadette Meyler (Stanford Law) has amplifed the argument tellingly stated by Fordham law profs Andrew Kent, Jed Shugerman, and Ethan Leib.
If you haven’t looked at this discussion I recommend that you take a good luck at this ongoing and very accessible discussion which began and continues in the pages of the Harvard Law Review. As officers of the court we are acutely aware of the limits of our authority – and of our duty of independence – bred of our oath to uphold the law. But by the fulsome embrace of the unitary executive theory which places all executive authority in a single person – not the office, but the person of the President – Attorney General Barr abdicates his duty. In his own words, he works under “presidential supervision” rather than as a protector of the people as sovereign. – gwc
The first time in our history a United States Senator has ever voted to convict an impeached President of his own Party. Mitt Romney February 5,2020…
Click through for the C-Span clip of the full, historic statement.
The post linked above is to the full video of Rep. Adam Schiff’s closing argument today to the United States Senate. It is an exemplar of professional and civic responsibility.
The New York City Bar Association has sent a letter to Congressional leaders, urging them “to commence formal inquiries into a pattern of conduct by Attorney General William P. Barr that threatens public confidence in the fair and impartial administration of justice.”
The letter asserts that in several extended public statements during the past few months, Mr. Barr has disregarded “bedrock obligations for government lawyers,” including “to avoid even the appearance of partiality and impropriety, and to avoid manifesting bias, prejudice, or partisanship in the exercise of official responsibilities.”
These statements include an October speech at the University of Notre Dame, now posted on the Department of Justice’s website, in which Mr. Barr stated that “the Founding generation . . . believed that the Judeo-Christian moral system corresponds to the true nature of man” and that “Judeo-Christian moral standards are the ultimate utilitarian rules for human conduct.” Expressing his view that “Judeo-Christian values . . . have made this country great”—while simultaneously rejecting the moral basis of secularism and, by implication, other religions (and atheism) as “an inversion of Christian morality,” Mr. Barr vowed to place the Department of Justice “at the forefront” of efforts to resist “forces of secularization.”
In a November speech at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention, Mr. Barr charged that “opponents of the Trump presidency’s policies” have been “engaged in the systematic shredding of norms and the undermining of the rule of law” and referred to what he called a “progressive holy war,” characterized by the use of “any means necessary to gain momentary advantage.” By contrast, Mr. Barr proclaimed, conservatives “tend to have more scruple over their political tactics” and are “more genuinely committed to the rule of law.”
In December – following earlier remarks at a Fraternal Order of Police gathering in which he criticized District Attorneys from “large cities” who “style themselves as ‘social justice’ reformers, who spend their time undercutting the police, letting criminals off the hook, and refusing to enforce the law,” and “an increasingly vocal minority” that “regularly attacks the police and advances a narrative that it is the police that are the bad guys” and “automatically start[s] screaming for the officers’ scalps, regardless of the facts” following “a confrontation involving the use of force by police”– Mr. Barr warned at a DOJ awards ceremony that “the American people have to . . . start showing, more than they do, the respect and support that law enforcement deserves,” and “if communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.” While Mr. Barr did not specify which “communities” were at risk of seeing decreased police protection because they lack respect for law enforcement, and notwithstanding his later denial that he had suggested that people should not criticize police officers and his assertion that he had merely been referring to the high rates of job vacancies in police agencies throughout the country, “his comment was understood by some observers, not unreasonably, as being directed toward members of communities of color protesting excessive use of force by police,” the letter states.
Our fundamental objectives are to serve the public by protecting the integrity, competence, and vitality of the Bar; help to assure citizens access to justice and adequate remedies, and to assist the Courts in their mission to guarantee that justice is done. This court granted certification to answer two questions: Are legal malpractice claims exempt from the Tort Claims Act (TCA), N.J.S.A. 59:1-1 to 12-3, and
 Is plaintiff’s “loss of liberty” damages claim subject to the verbal threshold of the TCA?*
The answer to the first question must be NO. Lawyers such as full and part time Public Defenders serve the State by whom they are employed. They help to vindicate the Constitutional obligations of due process, equal protection, and fair trials. But such public servants – full or part time – may falter and thereby give rise to professional liability claims.
Competent criminal defense lawyers should not be deterred from public service by the prospect of ruinous awards and defense costs. Without the defense and indemnification assured by the Tort Claims Act the interests of both PDs and those with just claims against them are ill-served. The Tort Claims Act blocks frivolous claims via its verbal threshold (59:9-2), limits certain damages [e.g. grants credits for collateral sources, pre-judgment interest. The Act bars civil punitive damage awards against the State and any other public entity. But compensatory damages are not capped. Costs of defense are beyond the capacity of staff PDs and of the typically young, free-lance pool attorneys.
by the Editorial Board
Lawyers have the right to leave a firm and practice at another firm. Likewise, clients have the right to switch lawyers or law firms, subject to approval of a tribunal, when applicable (and conflicts of interest). The ethics rules do not allow non-competition clauses in partnership, member, shareholder, or employment agreements. Lawyers and law firm management have ethical obligations to assure the orderly transition of client matters when lawyers notify a firm they intend to move to a new firm.
Don’t we all face this problem?
By Dahlia Lithwick Slate
“It is not my job to decide if Brett Kavanaugh is guilty. It’s impossible for me to do so with incomplete information, and with no process for testing competing facts. But it’s certainly not my job to exonerate him because it’s good for his career, or for mine, or for the future of an independent judiciary. Picking up an oar to help America get over its sins without allowing for truth, apology, or reconciliation has not generally been good for the pursuit of justice. Our attempts to get over CIA torture policies or the Iraq war or anything else don’t bring us closer to truth and reconciliation. They just make it feel better—until they do not. And we have all spent far too much of the past three years trying to tell ourselves that everything is OK when it most certainly is not normal, not OK, and not worth getting over.”
The New Jersey legal community has been roiled by an unpublished – but binding – Appellate Division decision that barred enforcement of the mandatory arbitration provision of a prominent firm’s standard retainer agreement.
In Delaney v. Dickey and Sills Cummis & Gross, P.C., 2019 WL 3982756, a legal malpractice action, plaintiff Brian Delaney claims the retainer agreement used by defendants violated several RPCs and therefore its provision to arbitrate all disputes arising from the representation should not be enforced. The Chancery Division judge rejected the argument but a three judge panel reversed. Sills has now appealed to the state’s Supreme Court, and Delaney’s lawyer agrees the Court should grant certification….
The former (GW Bush administration) Inspector General of the National Security Agency on the vulnerability of the lawyers who mis-classifie…