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The Judge has grown weary of sulking in the shadows and letting the MeJDs and Chinaskis of Judged hog the limelight. Here you will find news about Judged, updates to our law firm rankings and the Judge’s daily ramblings. Want the real scoop? Check it out here.

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On Thursday, the California Supreme Court ruled that lawyers who are convicted of child pornography will be disbarred automatically and banned from practicing law in the state, according to The Sacramento Bee.

The ruling was issued by the court when it was deciding what it should do with a lawyer from Orange County who pleaded guilty to possessing child porn at his residence. The court noted that holding sexual images of children is an immoral act that automatically makes an attorney unfit to work in the legal world.

"The knowing possession of child pornography is a serious breach of the duties of respect and care that all adults owe to all children, and it shows such a flagrant disrespect for the law and for societal norms, that continuation of a convicted attorney's State Bar membership would be likely to undermine public confidence in and respect for the legal profession," Justice Carol Corrigan wrote in the court's opinion.

The ruling issued by the court was unanimous in the case of Gary Douglass Grant. Grant worked as a lawyer at the Los Alamitos Army Reserve Base in Orange County. He pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child porn knowingly in 2009. Deputies for the sheriff's department found videos and photos of minor girls mixed with his adult porn collection. The images and videos were found on discs and computers.

A hearing judge for the State Bar of California and the chief trial counsel requested his disbarment. A bar appeals board ruled that disbarment should be based on individual case circumstances, not immediate disbarment simply because a lawyer possesses child porn.

The board originally suspended Grant from practicing law for two years due in part to the fact that he is a 'recovering sex and love addict.' They also issued the ruling based on his reasoning that he acquired the images by accident and attempted to delete them.

"Grant pleaded guilty to the felony of knowingly possessing child pornography. His guilty plea establishes those facts as a matter of law," Corrigan wrote. Grant's license to practice has been revoked for life. "The only question here is whether that crime, as admitted by him, constitutes moral turpitude per se. It does."


01-24-2014


On Thursday, it was announced by the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar that two lawyers involved in separate cases have been suspended from practicing law, according to The Portland Press Herald.

One of the lawyers is from Biddeford and the other is from Massachusetts, where he has been suspended from practicing as well.

The attorney from Biddeford, Scott Giese, has a private practice in the town. He was suspended from practicing for at least two months. The timeframe runs from January 22 to March 19. He was also ordered to hand his practice over to Scott Houde, another attorney from Biddeford. Houde is required to monitor the practice of Giese for the two month suspension period.

“The court finds that Attorney Giese’s multiple violations of the Maine Rules of Professional Conduct are serious and troubling. They indicate difficulties with Giese’s ability to manage his practice and properly communicate with clients,” Justice Joseph Jabar of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court said. The order was handed down and dated on January 13.

Giese was admitted to the bar in 2008. Judge Jabar noted that Giese grew his practice too fast and was not able to handle all of his clients' legal issues and needs effectively.

The second attorney in question is that of Kirk Griffin. Griffin hails from Marblehead, Massachusetts. Griffin had received his suspension from practicing law in Massachusetts prior to the suspension handed down by the state of Maine. He violated rules of professional conduct when he was told Maine was seeking the same suspension.

Griffin was admitted to the bar in Maine in 1968. He did not respond to the notification sent out by the state on October 13, 2013. He has been suspended from practicing law in Maine until further notice by the state bar.

The list of violations against Griffin in his home state include failure to return client funds, trust account improprieties, failure to comply with the Massachusetts Bar's requests for trust account records and commingling of funds. All of this was documented in an order handed down by Supreme Judicial Court Justice Jon Levy on January 13.

An order of eight pages was signed by the judge in the case involving Giese. In the order, there were complaints filed against Giese by three former clients, an opposing lawyer, and the opposing lawyer's clients.

In the complaints, Giese was accused of neglecting a client's estate, agreeing to a contested parental rights order with the consent of the client, exhibiting inappropriate contact with another lawyer's client, failing to provide action on a client's criminal court appeal and for filing “an unmeritorious lawsuit on behalf of the same family law client with whom he had a personal conflict,” according to the order.


01-18-2014



How is an attorney to protect the rights and life of a client if he can’t get his own life in order? Sterling Everard Gill II had to face this conundrum after the Ohio Supreme Court suspended him for two years for professional misconduct. Among other offenses, he appeared to court hours late, failed to properly file a notice of appeal and merits brief in one of his cases, and during a court hearing was found to be under the influence of alcohol.

The Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline recommended that he be suspended indefinitely, but in light of his own attorney, Kenneth R. Donchatz, who worked to show that Gill was struggling with bipolar disorder, compounded with the promise that he would take his medication, continue psychotherapy, and participate in Alcoholics Anonymous, he was voted 4-3 by the Supreme Court to only have his license suspended for two years, or one year if he manages his bipolar disorder and stays sober.

This at least is a sigh of relief for the man who was so tried by his personal demons. Having bipolar disorder or other psychiatric illnesses is difficult for anybody, but for somebody in a high responsibility position such as attorney or doctor, it becomes especially difficult.


10-24-2013



Just as the NRA and its spying on American citizens has become a byword and a hissing among Americans, the spying of the Government Communications Headquarters of Britain is facing blow-back, including the latest, a claim filed on behalf of eight Libyans who allege, among other things, that the British government intercepted legally privileged communications between lawyers and clients. The government is also accused of arranging for dissidents who fled Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's regime to be forcibly returned into the hands of torturers.

The claim alleges that, "There is a strong likelihood that the respondents have intercepted and are intercepting the applicant's legally privileged communications in respect of the cases." Furthermore, the GCHQ has been involved in "mass scale communications gathering as part of the temporare programme" which "monitors and collates, on a blanket basis, the full range of electronic communications."

That the government would resort to breaking its core values, such as the right of privacy between attorney and client, and this in the name of defending its core values, such as could be threatened by terrorists, strike many as abject hypocrisy.



10-14-2013


President Barack Obama bothered to state his opinion on the Redskins' name, a pressing issue in these trying times. It isn't exactly politically correct, is it, to have the native Americans as a mascot, unlike the Vikings, or the Spartans, or the Buccaneers, say, since they aren't around anymore. Owner Dan Snyder has been harshly criticized for saying they would "NEVER" change their name, and so it is up to lawyer Lanny Davis to smooth over the owner's vehemence, and take on the sometimes role of PR representative that lawyers tend to adopt.

"There are parts of Dan Snyder that I find extremely likeable, I think he's a good guy -- wish he would let people know that -- but saying all caps isn't the side of Dan Snyder that I want him to project" said Davis.

In this way he is able to suggest that his friend and employer is a bit of an asshole at times, but that he shouldn't project that part publicly.

Whether all caps or no, the answer is the same, nevertheless.

"[T]he answer is no, I don't think saying 'all caps, never' is the right tone," said Davis. I think saying 'We care about people's feelings, we're respectful when anyone is offended, but we have this 80-year name that we love. We sing 'Hail to the Redskins' every Sunday at the stadium, and we say 'we're part of Redskins Nation.' That's our vocabulary. Those are 'terms of honor.' And that's what he should have said, but he, I don't think is going to say 'all caps, never' again."

And so the lawyer must ease tensions and make sure nothing gets changed and everybody is happy with that. Those who would insist they are dignified people by being offended must always be pandered to, in a way, and when it comes to easing tensions, lawyers have the language necessary to smooth over troubled waters.



10-09-2013


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