In New Y0rk, an attorney was suspended for five years for committing a number of ethical violations. While there is no reason to defend the attorney’s misrepresentations or his trust account problems – what many consider troubling about the NY suspension is that the attorney was seemingly sanctioned for things he said about a judge on a web post.
A post on the Legal Profession Blog provides some revealing excerpts of the attorney’s web post. Further, it also has this quote from the sanctioning judge, concerning the web post:
Irrespective of the respondent’s sincerity in his beliefs, his overzealous behavior which took the form of disparaging remarks on the court, false accusations about Judge Amodeo disseminated in a public forum as part of a campaign to pressure the court into changing its rulings, and noncompliance with multiple court orders, truly constituted conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.
While the attorney’s non-speech behavior may have qualified him for sanctions, its unfortunate that the NY Court even contemplates this web post criticizing a judge in determining whether to suspend a person from the practice of law.
Are courts and bar associations using ethical violations to control attorney speech?