Friday, August 18, 2017

Ad Hominem Attacks With Racial Aspect Draw Bar Charges

The Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission has filed a complaint charging misconduct by an attorney who allegedly said the following during a probation review to the probation officer

Respondent and Ms. Polom walked into the courtroom. As Ms. Polom walked past Respondent in the courtroom, he told her that she had "angry black women's syndrome" and/or "black women's disease."

After she responded "don't do this"

Respondent continued to talk to Ms. Polom in a derogatory manner, including stating that she was an "angry black woman" and "that's why you don't have a husband."

Roshawn Gardner, the court clerk, who heard and observed this conversation, moved between Ms. Polom and Respondent and then escorted Respondent out of her office.

Alleged violations

a) failed to treat with courtesy and respect a person involved in the legal process and failed to avoid treating that person discourteously or disrespectfully because of that person's race and gender, in violation of MRPC 6.5(a); and,

b) engaged in conduct that exposes the legal profession to obloquy, contempt, censure, or reproach, in violation of MCR 9.104(2).

Click On Detroit's Mara MacDonald  reports that the attorney has a radio program and has made previous controversial remarks.

Cliff Woodards is a prominent attorney, as well as a radio host in AM 910. He was attending a mandatory training session for attorneys who are public defenders.

Also attending was attorney Erica Moise, who happens to be a lesbian.

While the training was ongoing, Woodards posted this status to Facebook:


After watching yet another woman dressed up like a man, wearing sagging jeans, boxer briefs and sporting a mohawk, it finally dawned on me to ask this question: Why you wearing men’s drawers, though? It’s not like your gonna need or use the flap. Do they make you feel more manly? I don’t understand."

Colleagues alerted Moise to what Woodards was posting and things quickly took on a life of it's own on social media.

Woodards then devoted his show on Friday to the whole issue.

“It was the whole two hours discussing gender, sexuality, my underwear, “ Moise tells us. She also says she was totally humiliated.

She isn’t the only one who is upset. Gay advocacy groups who are now asking that Woodards not be given an public court appointments because of his online and on air behavior.

Wooodards opted to decline an on camera interview, but he did speak to me at length. He insists that he is no homophobe and points out that his daughter is a lesbian.

He says his comments were about fashion, not sexuality. Moise doesn’t buy it and has pulled up more than a dozen similar  Facebook posts to give to the court to try and get Woodards barred from court appointments.

Transgender advocate Julisa Abad says having an opinion is fine, but when you represent the public rants like this are not. “If he was just a radio personality, like a Howard Stern, ok, you’re not representing anybody.

You have people’s lives in your hands who are counting on you to give them justice.”

The attorney has a prior reprimand for dissimilar conduct. (Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink


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