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Monday, December 9, 2013

A Reminder to Think Twice Before Bashing a Judge

A Chicago attorney received a harsh reminder that when you don’t have something nice to say, it is better to say nothing at all. This lawyer apparently forgot this lesson, so dutifully instilled into us by our mothers while we are young, when submitting a petition for a rehearing after his summary judgment motion was denied.
The attorney initially filed a multi-count complaint in the Circuit Court of Cook County, alleging malicious prosecution and false imprisonment. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, which was affirmed by the appellate court in a Rule 23 order. The respondent then filed a motion for a rehearing and to publish the opinion. In his motion, the attorney included some choice words for the court.  The court "completely" misstated "the facts by omitting facts it finds inconvenient," the attorney opined, "and issued this order knowing its recitation of the facts is a gross distortion of the record and a gross distortion of the Plaintiff's arguments." "Perhaps this Court felt it was more important to maintain a friendly relationship with their colleague down the hallway than it was to do justice in a case that did not personally involve them," the attorney lamented. In a parting shot, the attorney asserted that the court "is not serious about following the law."

As might be expected, the appellate court did not share the attorney’s views of its abilities. In a strongly-worded rebuke, the court explained that statements such as these "bring the court and the law into disrepute and tend to destroy public confidence in their integrity." Calling the language "insulting" and "disrespectful," the court reminded the attorney that unjust criticism, insulting language, and offensive conduct towards judges are not in compliance with Illinois’s Code of Professional Responsibility and cannot be permitted.

The attorney quickly recognized his mistake, and offered an apology. The attorney acknowledged that his statements lacked civility, and apologized to the court for his "intemperate, incorrect, and wrong statements." He claimed his apology was "heartfelt and sincere." Luckily for him, the court accepted his apology, and did not impose sanctions. However, let that be a reminder to us all that mother knows best: If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.
Read more about ethics and the law at Ancel Glink’s website, www.ancelglink.com

Post Authored by Matt DiCianni, Ancel Glink


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