Friday, August 7, 2009

Moral Turpitude?

I have heard colleages of mine complain that the concept of "moral turpitude" is not very clearly defined as a standard to determine if an attorney should be disciplined. Now comes news of a case that should add fuel to that fire.

The Legal Profession Blog reported yesterday that a District Of Columbia hearing committee held that a lawyer should be disbarred because he engaged in conduct involving "moral turpitude." What is interesting about the case is that this decision was actually a reversal because the Board on Professional Responsibility had concluded that the lawyer's conviction did not establish moral turpitude per se.

Now here are the facts of the case: the lawyer had come home angry about something relating to the Maryland or D.C. lottery. He then proceeded to shoot his wife in the head with a .32 caliber revolver. Fortunately, she survived and the lawyer was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Now here is my take on this: do we really need to get into a debate as to what constitutes moral turpitude, have a committee issue an opinion, hold a hearing to have another commitee then issue a reversal all to conclude that a guy who shoots his wife in the head when he gets angry and is sentenced to served 25 years in prison should not be allowed to practice law?! I mean, c'mon people! He shot his wife in the head; he got convicted!! What more do you need to know?