July 1, 2011
Not Prejudicial To The Administration Of Justice
An attorney who released a partial transcript of a juvenile hearing did not engage in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, according to a decision issued yesterday by the Oregon Supreme Court. A hearing panel had found the ethical violation "[w]ith little discussion."
Although the judge had been "concerned" about the conduct, the court found that the behavior did not impact on the decision-making process in the juvenile case. The press had been allowed to attend the hearing. Even if the release was improper, it did not have a substantial impact on the proceeding, which is an element of the violation:
The Bar appears...to take the position that virtually any violation of a statute, rule, or court order that occurs during the course of a court proceeding and relates to the conduct or any procedural aspect of that proceeding necessarily is prejudicial to the administration of justice. The Bar asserts, in effect, that "substantial potential" harm is implicit in the accused's conduct. Our cases, however, require proof by clear and convincing evidence that an accused's conduct in a specific judicial proceeding caused actual or potential harm to the administration of justice and, when only one wrongful act is charged, that actual or potential harm must be "substantial."
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