Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dissent Demonstrates That Bar Prosecution Was Unwarranted

The Florida Supreme Court denied rehearing in a bar discipline matter that had sanctioned an attorney for use of the trade name "Legal Experts."

Justice Lewis dissented, concluding that the attorney had established that the facts recited in the concurring opinion were "wrong." Because Florida rules allow an attorney to use the phrase "Board Certified Trial Expert" and the attorney was so certified, his inclusion of his specific certification directly below the trade name "negates any notion that his trade name was misleading to the public as stated to be a basis for discipline and effectively establishes his consistency with the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar."

I have trouble understanding why this matter was brought. As Justice Lewis notes, a grievance committee found no probable cause and no one ever complained that they were misled.

When I was a bar prosecutor, I'd have never wasted the time and effort to bring such a case. (Mike Frisch)

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I am not surprised that the Florida Supreme Court would deny rehearing in the face of clear evidence that they were wrong on the facts, that happens all of the time, but I am surprised that the justices would deny rehearing even when one of their number publicly highlighted this fact.

In fact, Lewis’ prior decent makes it abundantly clear that Doane has become caught up in an internal bar and court fight as to whether to allow attorneys to represent themselves as “experts”:

Politics, politics…

What I find more interesting is that the prosecution continued even following a determination of no probable cause. Surely the probable cause hearing is intended to protect an accused from unnecessarily undergoing a prosecution where there is no arguable case. So surely to continue the prosecution following a finding of no probable cause was a clear violation of Doane’s due process rights?


Posted by: FixedWing | Aug 27, 2010 10:18:06 AM

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