July 27, 2009
I've Got You Under My Skin
A Three-Judge Panel in Virginia accepted and imposed an agreed 30 day suspension for misconduct in the defense of a first-degree murder case. The attorney had endorsed and filed a motion for permission to issue testimonial subpoenas to two attorneys who represented the person that the defendant had allegedly hired to commit the murder. The motion alleged as a basis that the prosecuting attorney had contacted the two lawyers "for help in fabricating a case against the Defendant."
The attorney had never communicated with either of the lawyers about the allegations prior to the filing of the motion. One testified that the attorney told him he had filed the motion to "either get [the prosecutor] off balance or get under [his] skin during the course of the prosecution of the case..."
A sanctions hearing conducted by the trial court led to a finding that the motion falsely accused the prosecutor of suborning perjury. The attorney had appealed the sanction imposed ($4,000.00) all the way to cert. denied by the U.S. Supreme Court. (Mike Frisch)
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