Category Archives: Law: Ethics

Ben Kuehne Vindicated!

Here's something to be grateful for: Feds drop money-laundering case against Miami lawyer Ben Kuehne.

Justice was done too slowly here. But at least it was done.

Posted in Law: Ethics | 2 Comments

Goverment to Only Do Business With Honest Contractors — Military-Industrial Complex Faces Doom

HuffPo(*) has the scoop, Whoops: Anti-ACORN Bill Ropes In Defense Contractors, Others Charged With Fraud:

The congressional legislation intended to defund ACORN, passed with broad bipartisan support, is written so broadly that it applies to “any organization” that has been charged with breaking federal or state election laws, lobbying disclosure laws, campaign finance laws or filing fraudulent paperwork with any federal or state agency. It also applies to any of the employees, contractors or other folks affiliated with a group charged with any of those things.

In other words, the bill could plausibly defund the entire military-industrial complex. Whoops.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) picked up on the legislative overreach and asked the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) to sift through its database to find which contractors might be caught in the ACORN net.

Here's the Project of Government Oversight (POGO) federal contractor misconduct database. And POGO has more; meanwhile Rep. Grayson is asking for people to crowdsource his list of companies caught by the rule. According to Huffpo,

Grayson then intends to file that list in the legislative history that goes along with the bill so that judges can reference it when determining whether a company should be denied federal funds.

All this because naming ACORN in the legislation creates a risk that the statute might be a bill of attainder.

This is an amazingly brilliant if impractical idea given the level of corruption in military and doubtless civilian procurement (sort of super-debarment for those versed in procurement law), but we all know it will never survive the legislative sausage factory.

(*)-Employs family member.

Posted in Law: Ethics | 4 Comments

Practice Tip: Tell Your Clients “Don’t Text to the Witness”

We've all heard about the jurors who go home at night and Google the witnesses or the lawyers — and I'm sure the cases we hear about are only the tip of the iceberg.

But the feisty South Florida Lawyers Blog has got a story that tops any of that: a party text messaging with a witness during a break in that witness's testimony.

Instant mistrial when discovered. (Note: the lawyers were at a sidebar with the judge when it happened, so they're not to blame for this one.)

Posted in Law: Ethics | 1 Comment

Local Blogger Wins Case

Congratulations to David O. Marcus for this big win : Pain doctor trial: judge orders government to pay most of M.D.'s legal bills.

Calling the actions of prosecutors “profoundly disturbing,” a federal judge in Miami has ordered the U.S. government to pay sanctions topping $600,000 in the case of a South Florida physician charged with illegally prescribing painkillers.

U.S. District Judge Alan Gold is forcing the government to pay Dr. Ali Shaygan more than half the costs he incurred to defend himself at trial as punishment for secretly recording his defense team.

In a harshly-worded 50-page order, Gold said the “win-at-any-cost behavior” of federal prosecutors Sean Cronin and Andrea Hoffman raised “troubling issues about the integrity of those who wield enormous power over the people they prosecute.”

Kidding aside (I couldn't resist the headline, sorry David), this is a major verdict and an important victory, especially as it comes on the heels of the Stevens case. Two cases isn't a huge sample, but it at least raises the possibility that under the prior administration the Justice Department may have developed problems that go beyond partisanship and involve losing sight of their mission to do justice rather than win at all costs.

Posted in Law: Ethics | 2 Comments

People Unclear on the Concept

Scott Horton, Why Two Bush Appointees Are Refusing to Leave, describes the incredible story of U.S. Attorneys Mary Beth Buchanan of Pittsburgh and Alice Martin of Birmingham — both highly partisan and dubiously ethical — who although they serve at the pleasure of the President refuse to hew to custom by tendering resignations, and either think they can bluff Team Obama into not firing them or see some partisan value in being fired rather than going quietly.

It had better not work. There is a place for holdover US Attorneys — when they're really good and genuinely non-partisan. Patrick Fitzgerald, for example. But ladies, you're no Patrick Fitzgerald.

Posted in Law: Ethics, Politics: The Party of Sleaze | Leave a comment

Spitzer Does the Right Thing

YouTube – Eliot Spitzer Resignation

Now, how about family values Senator Vitter – when is he going to resign?

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Contrary Views on Spitzer

Here are two well-written blog postings that argue Spitzer need not resign:

I'm not persuaded. I don't think Spitzer should be treated worse then the next John, which means he maybe shouldn't be prosecuted and certainly shouldn't go to jail. But that doesn't mean he belongs in the Governor's mansion.

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