Category: Ethics and Professionalism

  • Old-School Ethical Heresies

    JBD asked for an outline of my TMSL talk on avoiding old-school ethical heresies. “Ethics” training for lawyers usually focus on the disciplinary rules. But the disciplinary rules are law, not ethics. Sometimes the rules have nothing to do with ethics. Sometimes the rules provide no ethical guidance (so that what the rules allow is unethical). And sometimes what […]

  • Criminal Defense and the Societal-Good Heresy [updated]

    [Updated to include David Hardaway’s name, at his request.] A defense lawyer appeals his client’s second DWI conviction, arguing that the client should be punished for a first DWI because the State did not plead or prove the first conviction (which acted to enhance the class-B misdemeanor first DWI to a class-A second) in the […]

  • The Total Refusal

    I was making an appearance on a first DWI. My client had declined to participate in the cop’s agility exercises (also known as “field sobriety tests”), both at the scene and at the station. The cop claims that at the scene my client showed signs of intoxication, but on the video from the station my […]

  • Lawyer in Possession of Illegal Recording

    When a lawyer has possession of an illegally-obtained recording, what is she to do? Not a new story; this is from 8 March 2011: Just before Duke’s first unsupervised visit, Dianna bought a small digital recorder online. Dianna unstitched a bit of her daughter’s favorite teddy bear—known as “Little Bear”—and stuck the recorder inside, stitching […]

  • The Object Lesson of Joseph Rakofsky

    To those like who want the practical blawgosphere to be the Happysphere, with no unkind words spoken about anyone (unless, as Tannebaum points out, there are no names mentioned, which makes the Happysphere more than a little passive-aggressive), the Joseph Rakofsky story should provide an object lesson. Joseph Rakofsky’s online marketing is a parade of […]

  • In Your Face, Brett Ligon!

    Colorado District Attorney Carol Chambers, who AmJured in ethics, has done Montgomery County’s Brett Ligon (edit: and Harris County’s Pat Lykos) one better: she “is offering financial incentives for felony prosecutors who meet their goals for conviction rates at trial.“ “It is hard to find performance standards by which to measure trial attorneys,” Chambers explains […]

  • Warning: 11-28-3 Lawyer Aloose on the Community

    More from lawyer James D. “11-28-3” Evans, III: …Let me give you the straight of it: this young girl, 11 years old…she was aloose on the community—I say aloose—she was allowed to be out and about the community in Cleveland Texas from about May until about December, and over the course of that period of […]

  • Witnesses Playing God

    [A] good-faith, case-by-case, consequential ethics approach should be used that balances the greatest good for the greatest number without trampling unduly on individual rights and each citizen’s constitutionally protected liberty interests. Sreenivasan, Frances, and Weinberger, Normative Versus Consequential Ethics in Sexually Violent Predator Laws: An Ethics Conundrum for Psychiatry, J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 38:3:386-391 […]

  • Blogging Rules

    D.A. Confidential describes some of the rules he follows when writing blog posts: Do not write about ongoing cases. If I want to draw attention to one of my cases, say it’s going to trial, then I let people know it’s going to trial and I post a link to a news story about the […]

  • Not Unethical, But Still Not Right

    Chief Disciplinary Counsel Mark DuBois regards the issue I submitted on behalf of the Twittergate Committee, composed of a few bloggers who felt strongly about the controversy mentioned above, as frivolous, suggesting that both I and Mark Bennett have too much time on our hands. Case closed. No ethics violation, not even probable cause to […]