Friday, March 23, 2007

Men Shouldn't Make Passes...

A decision by the D.C. Court of Appeals is a useful cautionary tale about the ethical dangers of uncontrolled "romantic" impulses. The attorney was attracted to a fellow passenger on a Metro train. After they had exchanged names and places of employment, he started to rub his leg against hers. She decided to change seats and, as she did, he touched her buttock. He followed her to her new seat and she moved again. He then moved directly across from her. When he reached his stop, he dropped his business card in her newspaper and uttered the immortal phase "Give me a call sometime, baby." She elected to call the police instead.

As noted in the Board report, her place of employment was the Office of Independent Counsel. Oops.

Result: conviction for misdemeanor sexual abuse, 30 day suspension. (Mike Frisch)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2007/03/men_shouldnt_ma.html

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink

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Comments

I really have to take issue with the title. Fondling someone in public and following them around isn't making a "pass": it's sexual abuse. (And/or harassment, depending on the jurisdiction and context.)

Posted by: M.E. | Mar 23, 2007 11:21:19 AM

I agree with the comment-a weak attempt at humor as it is clear from the post that I think this is reprehensible behavior. Note that the Board wanted to let him off with no suspension and that the suspension was based on Bar Counsel's exception.

Posted by: Mike Frisch | Mar 23, 2007 2:29:25 PM

I appreciate the original poster's acknowledgement of his mis-use of humor. I have to admit, however, I was taken aback by the "Oops." Placed after the comment about where the victim was employed, it implied the mistake was in the choice of target, and not in the conduct itself. I can imagine that a more timid target's response to the pressure might have been to avoid or stop taking that Metro route -- the conduct of the man was still wrong.

Posted by: K.C.P. | Mar 24, 2007 6:05:06 AM

Once again I agree-- but readers of my posts know that I understand that getting criminal and disciplinary sanctions for most forms of misconduct is largely (and unfortunately) a function of precisely the circumstances such as those presented in this case. The fact that the victim was employed at OIC was highly relevant to the result. Hopefully this post has now been fully vetted and I will confine any attempts at humor to situations other than those presented here. I do wish the real point of the post--the leniency shown by the disciplinary system to this misconduct--had been noted.

Posted by: Mike Frisch | Mar 24, 2007 7:59:56 AM

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