Wednesday, September 8, 2010
JUDICIAL AND LEGAL ETHICS IN MARYLAND: HOW LOW CAN YOU GO?
Who is worthy of greater public condemnation, a lawyer who exchanges sex for a controlled substance or a lawyer who complains, truthfully, about the misconduct of a federal judge?
Well, what you think doesn't matter. What matters is what the judges think.
In Maryland, the judiciary, by a large margin, prefers the sexual predator with a law license to the honest lawyer, who files a formal complaint about a judge.
The sexual predator get a little frown from the judges, while the honest lawyer, who complains about the misconduct of a federal judge, gets to pick another profession.
Arguably (as lawyers like to say) a Maryland attorney ought never to lose his/her law license, for making a truthful complaint about a federal judge.
Arguably. But honesty is not the big deal you might expect it to be to the Maryland judiciary.
An attorney who does complain - about a federal judge who (1) ignores procedural rules to benefit his former law partners (2) takes money gifts from litigators (3) violates the federal judicial complaint rules and the Canons of Judicial Ethics and (4) is in business with lawyers in his court - a lawyer who objects to all this ought to be protected - if not congratulated - for coming forward. Arguably, but never mind.
The Judicial apparatus in Maryland did not like the fact that I complained - truthfully - about the misconduct of a federal judge. My punishment - 18 months suspended law license.
In fact, my suspension amounts to a disbarment. I am not going to apologize to Chief Judge Bell for coming forward as I did. I am not going to promise, from now on, to look the other way.
Judge Bell ought to apologize to me and restore my license - after admitting that I was telling the truth about the federal judge. But that is not the way our judicial system works.
Strict adherence to the factual record takes a back seat, in Maryland, to another judicial value: protection of a miscreant judicial colleague - a fellow jurist who ignores the ethical strictures that are supposed to protect the interests of petitioners and attorneys, alike.
The judge about whom I complained ought to have been investigated and replaced. My clients should have been protected from such a "judge." But Judge Bell and his employees among the disciplinary counsel could not even bring themselves to admit I was telling the truth. That sort of truth-telling is an embarrassment to Judge Bell.
Never mind. Experience is wisdom. I am now wise to the bright line rule that governs judicial complaints in Maryland: the judges cover for each other. They prefer to destroy the career of an officer of their own court, than admit that a federal judge is a miscreant who ignores his serious ethical obligations. http://www.courts.state.md.us/attygrievance/sanctions08.html
Never mind and beware.
Beware the sexual predator who is allowed to hang on to his law license after a little bitty Oh My, from the be-robed solons who run the judiciary in Maryland.
In Maryland, a lawyer who forces himself sexually on someone in exchange for a controlled drug is viewed in a much kinder light than a lawyer who complains - truthfully - about a judge-on-the-take.
The soft light glows ever softer the second time around; this attorney had been suspended "briefly" (Baltimore Sun May 18, 2010) once before for sexual misconduct with a client.
The sort of lawyer - two-times a predator - who coerce sex-for-drugs earns a 60 day suspension. Then it's back to 'business' as usual in the Maryland courts. http://mdcourts.gov/opinions/coa/2010/2a09ag.pdf
Disgusting? But as legal as can be.
Get sex for drugs or have sexual contact with a client if you can. But if you are an officer of he court, don't complain about a judge. Then, you are really going to be in trouble with the other judges.
In Maryland, judicial ethics and legal ethics are like the game of limbo: how low can you go?
(Also posted at MARYLAND, MY MARYLAND)