New Jersey Supreme Court Rejects Mandatory Malpractice Insurance, embraces disclosure of coverage

The New Jersey Supreme Court has issued a Notice to the Bar.  It has rejected in part, accepted in part, and deferred in part the recommendations of its Ad Hoc Committee on Attorney Malpractice Insurance.  It concurred with the November 2017 report recommendation that malpractice insurance not be mandated for all private practitioners.  The Court retains its Rule 1:21-1A that all limited liability firms must carry insurance in the minimum amount of $100,000 (multiplied by the number of attorneys in the firm). The Court concurred with its Committee that lawyers be required to publicly register evidence of the coverage they carry.  The Administrative Office of the Courts is directed to develop procedures to implement the principle.  And the Court announced that it will revisit at an unspecified date whether attorneys who lack coverage should be required to disclose that fact. – gwc

Source: OTHERWISE: New Jersey Supreme Court Rejects Mandatory Malpractice Insurance, embraces disclosure of coverage

 

OTHERWISE: Harvard Law Prof Defends Decision to Represent Weinstein

Source: OTHERWISE: Harvard Law Prof Defends Decision to Represent Weinstein

Ronald Sullivan, a former Public Defender and the Director of Harvard Law’s criminal justice program, is one of the most prominent criminal defense lawyers in the country.  An African American long associated with criminal justice reform, he has drawn disapproval from some for signing on to the defense team of Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood mogul now under indictment for sexual assault.

After students criticized him, including the editors of the student-edited daily Harvard Crimson fifty two Harvard Law Professors rose to his defense in an open letter.
Sullivan has now defended himself in a long interview published today in the New York magazine.

– GWC

A Century Later, a Little-Known Mass Hanging of Black Soldiers Still Haunts Us – Progressive.org

Source: OTHERWISE: A Century Later, a Little-Known Mass Hanging of Black Soldiers Still Haunts Us – Progressive.org

100 years after one of the least-known and saddest chapters in American history, families of executed black soldiers have petitioned Trump for justice. Sixty-three black soldiers were represented by one lawyer in the largest court martial in U.S. history, the first of three that followed the Houston riot of 1917. In total, 110 men out of 118 were found guilty, and nineteen were sentenced to death by hanging.

OTHERWISE: No right is secure: Thomas , Gorsuch and Alito disparage right to counsel set in Gideon v. Wainwright

Source: OTHERWISE: No right is secure: Thomas , Gorsuch and Alito disparage right to counsel set in Gideon v. Wainwright

The breadth of the threat to well established rights is stunning.  In the past few weeks Justice Clarence Thomas has reportedly directly lobbied Senators to place a former clerk on the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit; questioned Times v. Sullivan; disparaged Times v. Sullivan;and declared that Roe v. Wade and Dred Scott v. Sanford are among the worst decisions of the court and the fruit of the same constitutional doctrinal defects.  The targets have expanded to include a three judge attack on the expansion of right to counsel beginning with Powell v. Alabama which reversed the nine notorious death sentences in the Scottsboro cases, the injustices of which are described in this contemporaneous ACLU reportKEEP READING

Louisiana Supreme Court Disbars Attorney For Anonymous Online Posts – Legal Ethics in Motion

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Source: OTHERWISE: Louisiana Supreme Court Disbars Attorney For Anonymous Online Posts – Legal Ethics in Motion

 

The Louisiana Supreme Court has disbarred a former Assistant United States Attorney for posting anonymous, online comments about cases being handled by his office.

From November 2007 through March 2012, Sal Perricone, an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, used five anonymous pseudonyms to post over 2,600 comments on the New Orleans Times-Piscayne website. On 100 to 200 of those posts, Perricone offered his strong opinion on cases with which either he or his office were affiliated. 

In one case that involved the prosecution of police officers over the shooting of unarmed civilians in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Perricone wrote: “NONE of these guys should have ever been given a badge.” The officers were convicted but, the district court judge reversed the police  convictions, in a 129 page opinion that cited “grotesque prosecutorial misconduct,” referring in part to Perricone’s comments.

Read the full opinion here.

Closing the Gap in Judicial Ethics

Source: Closing the Gap in Judicial Ethics

On Tuesday, January 29th, at 10am, Sarah Turberville, Director of The Constitution Project at POGO, testified at a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on H.R. 1, the For the People Act of 2019.

Thank you, Chairman Nadler, Ranking Member Collins, and Members of the Committee for the opportunity to speak with you today about H.R. 1, the For The People Act of 2019. My name is Sarah Turberville and I am the director of The Constitution Project at the Project On Government Oversight. Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that investigates and exposes waste, corruption, abuse of power, and when the government fails to serve the public or silences those who report wrongdoing; The Constitution Project was founded in 1997 and joined POGO in 2017. We champion reforms to achieve a more effective, ethical, and accountable federal government that safeguards constitutional principles.

Sarah Turberville, director of The Constitution Project at POGO, testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on H.R. 1, the For the People Act, January 29, 2019.

Statement on H.R. 1, the For The People Act of 2019

Section 7001 of the For the People Act would close a conspicuous gap in federal ethics rules. It would require the Judicial Conference of the United States to issue a code of conduct applicable to each judge and justice of the United States, which may include provisions “that are applicable only to certain categories of judges or justices.”1 We strongly support this long-overdue ethics reform and encourage lawmakers to view this measure as a first step toward preserving the actual and perceived integrity of the federal courts.

A magnifying glass hovers over the U.S. Capitol.

A Closer Look at Ethics Reforms in HR 1, the For the People Act

This ambitious proposal, the “For the People Act,” includes many reforms that the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) has long supported. For example, for years, POGO has advocated for stronger policies to ensure that high-level government officials going through the revolving door between government service and private industry do so in a way that protects government policies from undue industry influence.

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By extending a code of ethics to the Supreme Court for the first time, the legislation seeks to balance the need to enhance the public’s faith in the judiciary with the imperative to safeguard the separation of powers between the legislative and judicial branches. While tough questions concerning the scope and enforcement of a code of conduct for the Supreme Court may arise, the benefits of applying such a code to the justices—including the benefits that would flow to the public’s understanding and perception of the courts—far outweigh any disadvantages.

A code of conduct for all judges and justices of United States courts could increase public confidence in the legitimacy, integrity, and independence of the courts. It would also better ensure fairer application of ethics rules—perhaps with the added benefit of the justices’ closer scrutiny of their own conduct. A code of conduct for the entire federal judiciary has bipartisan support. In the last Congress, a Republican-sponsored bill contained an identical provision.2