Thursday, October 29, 2009

Professionalism alert: How not to behave in court

Here are two stories, one from Texas and the other from Pennsylvania, that are topically related, if not geographically.  The first of these comes from our good buddy Professor Mitch Rubinstein at the Adjunct Law Prof blog.  He tells us about a federal district judge in Pennsylvania who sanctioned an attorney for calling his opponent an ""ass h . . ." in open court.  The punishment?  The offending attorney has been ordered to attend a civility class as well as have dinner with the attorney he insulted.  

The second case is being reported by the online ABA Journal in which a Texas criminal defense attorney made an obscene gesture directed at his opposing counsel and was sentenced to 90 days as a result.  Although he appealed the sentence, the Texas Appeals Court denied his habeas petition stating that even though the gesture was not aimed at the judge, it was “a purposeful act of disrespect and an affront to the dignity of the court.”

The lesson?  Treat your opponents with respect unless you want to cool your heels in jail (or pick up the dinner tab for someone you really don't like).

I am the scholarship dude.


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Edifying tales to be sure. I suspect that the learned judges in Kansas would take such a hard-nosed approach.

Feel the love.

Posted by: RE Ramcharan | Dec 1, 2009 7:11:22 PM

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