Saturday, July 21, 2007

Lawyer, Don't Represent Thyself

The South Dakota Supreme Court denied unconditional reinstatement to an attorney who had been conditionally reinstated several years ago. The original disciplinary matter had its genesis in a campaign for judicial office in which the attorney had engaged in unprofessional behavior in attacks on his opponent. The Disciplinary Board had recommended a censure in that matter, but the lawyer's conduct in oral argument so concerned the court that an indefinite suspension was imposed. After conditional reinstatement, the lawyer handled a trial pro se in which the trial judge expressed concerns about his competence. Here, the court rejected the recommendation for full reinstatement because the board had failed to adequately consider the views of the trial judge. Continuing supervision of the lawyer's practice is "vitally needed." (Mike Frisch)

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