Saturday, September 25, 2010

More on the question of rude behavior

A few days ago, I posted a comment on whether rude behavior constitutes unethical conduct (here), a topic that generated some responses in The Legal Ethics Forum (here).

Adding to the discussion, the Legal Profession blog is reporting that a Colorado Hearing Board has imposed a suspension of a year and a day on an attorney for his pattern of disrespectful and contemptuous behavior in a federal court trial. Among other things, the attorney called another attorney a “fucking weasel” after the attorney reminded the insulting attorney that he should not coach his client during a recess. The attorney also called another attorney a “pinche cabrón” and an “hijo de puta.” (In the footnotes, the board defines these terms as "damned goat, big goat" and "son of a whore," which made me laugh. The word "cabrón" is, in fact, quite insulting to a Spanish speaker, but I can tell you it has nothing to do with a "goat"!! )

It is important to note that both incidents ocurred out of the jury’s presence and involved comments made to another attorney, not to a party as in the case I wrote about a few days ago. Yet, the board found the attorney acted with the intent to disrupt the tribunal in violation of, among others, Rule 8.4.

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