Sunday, March 16, 2014

Maryland Disbars Attorney For Accusing Judges of Misconduct in Emails. Was it justified?

Disbarring the Critics is reporting that in late February, the Maryland Court of Appeals disbarred a long-time Maryland attorney for alleging in emails that several Maryland judges had engaged in misconduct. The decision, Attorney Grievance Commission v. Frost, is available here.

Disbarring the Critics has a long comment on the case here, in which it concludes: "Make no mistake about it, the the justices on Maryland's highest court were not taking the action they did to protect the public, but were instead acting to protect their colleagues from what they believed to be unfair criticism by Frost. Undoubtedly those judges also know that the Frost case will be a warning shot to let other Maryland attorneys know that if they dare to criticize a judge publicly or privately they can be targeted for discipline."

1 comment:

  1. At first glance, this looks like a decision intended to only chill speech. However, when reading the opinion, it's really a decision that holds lawyers accountable for reckless or knowingly-false allegations of judicial misconduct. The opinion mentioned that the disciplinary authority couldn't attain personal service on the attorney and, even after service was proper, the attorney failed to respond to requests-to-admit. Had he responded to those requests, he might have stood a chance against the trial-court's determination that he recklessly alleged the judicial misconduct.

    Maybe I'm being short-sighted, but the decision doesn't seem as bad as what Disbarring the Critics made it out to be.