Friday, September 20, 2019
The Nevada Supreme Court sanctioned an attorney for statements made in multiple recusal motions
We conclude that the State Bar proved that Colin made statements in pleadings to the court concerning the integrity of several justices that he knew to be false or with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity and that he engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, but the evidence does not establish that Colin engaged in conduct intended to disrupt a tribunal because the alleged conduct did not occur inside a courtroom or similar setting. Considering the nature of the misconduct and similar discipline
cases, we conclude that a six-month-and-one-day suspension serves the purpose of attorney discipline.
This discipline matter arises out of Colin's representation of condemned inmate Charles Lee Randolph in an appeal from a district court order denying Randolph's second postconviction petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
After losing on appeal
In a petition for rehearing and a motion to disqualify the four justices who signed the Randolph disposition, Colin made a number of unsupported and outrageous remarks about the court and the justices, many of which were unrelated to the matter on which he sought rehearing.
[T]he Court took its dishonesty to an unprecedented new level, and . . . the Court affirmatively fabricated a lie, blatantly contrary to the record. . . . Indeed, the Court's own Order proves that the Court is drunk with power, acting like a lawless bully, just lying and cheating to accomplish its evil objective to see Randolph dead.
And in another motion
This Nevada Supreme Court has no respect for the Nevada Constitution, or the law of the United States of America. The Court's despicable and blatantly lawless actions have repeatedly proven this sad truth.
[Flairness and honesty are anathema [sic] to this Court, which seeks only to use its brute power to make up lies, get paid, and wrongly blame others for its evil objective—the lynching of Charles Lee Randolph.
Before that same court here
Colin contends that the evidence does not support the panel's conclusions that he violated RPC 3.5(d), RPC 8.2(a), or RPC 8.4(d) because "[t]he State Bar of Nevada intentionally lied to the hearing panel in an effort to get [him] disciplined for telling the truth!"(Emphasis omitted.) The State Bar does not directly respond to this argument.
The court finds that the conduct was not disruptive
Colin's conduct did not occur in a courtroom setting. His statements and conduct all occurred in writing, instead of in-person before a tribunal. Thus, his conduct could not have disrupted the tribunal's proceeding in Randolph in the sense contemplated by RPC 3.5(d). Accordingly, we conclude that the pangs findings fail to establish that Colin violated RPC 3.5(d).
But violated Rule 8.2
First, while many of Colin's statements about the justices are fairly characterized as opinions, substantial evidence supports the panel's findings that at least some of them were statements of fact. The strongest examples of factual statements include Colin's statements that the justices "affirmatively alter[edr the appellate record"; "affirmatively fabricated a lie, blatantly contrary to the record", and have actively participated "in a lengthy and ongoing unconstitutional judicial scheme and conspiracy to circumvent the Nevada Constitution, steal money from the Nevada taxpayers, and put $30,000 unconstitutional dollars a year into their own, and/or their judicial friend's pockets" by serving on the Law Library Commission.
Second, substantial evidence supports the panel's findings that Colin's statements concern the qualifications or integrity of the justices. In particular, he accused them of lying, altering the record in a case, engaging in an unconstitutional conspiracy, and stealing money from the taxpayers.
Finally, substantial evidence supports the panel's findings that Colin either knew the statements were false or made the statements with reckless disregard for their truth. In particular, Colin admitted in his affidavit supporting one of the post-judgment disqualification motions that he waited to assert the illegality of the justices compensation for service on the library commission until after the decision in Randolph. He stated that he "considered filing a Motion to Disqualify in 2011 based only on the Justices [sic] unconstitutional participation in the conspiracy to circumvent the Nevada Constitution pursuant to the bogus 'Library Commission but decided to give the Justices the benefit of the doubt." From that admission, it can be inferred that Colin knew the compensation was not illegal and made the false statement only because the court ruled against his client. At the very least, substantial evidence supports the panel's findings that Colin made those statements with reckless disregard for the truth, as any compensation for service on the Law Library Commission necessarily was authorized by the Legislature.
In sum, the State Bar established by clear and convincing evidence that Colin made statements of fact that impugned the justices' integrity, with knowledge of the statements' falsity or with reckless disregard for whether they were false. Based on that evidence and giving deference to the panel's findings of fact, we conclude that Colin violated RPC 8.2(a).
The extra day requires him to petition for reinstatement.
The case is In the Matter of Discipline of Colin. (Mike Frisch)