Thursday, September 27, 2007

Lawyers Weigh In in Watts' Judge-Buying

Originally posted over at overlawyered, lawyers and the law community are now weighing in about Mikal Watts' judge-buying scandal.

Invoking these comments:

If I ever received a letter like that, invoking either friendship or donations, it would go straight to the disciplinary committee. (Eric @ New York Personal Injury Law Blog)

My first stop would be every newspaper office I could think of. Then the disciplinary committee. (John Burgess)

But with a letter making such threats, to actually leave written eveidence of such things: could you give Mr. Watts a poke from something beyond the (in Texas, completely useless, see previous post) disciplinary comittee? Is there no "judge tampering" equivalent of the jury tampering charge? (Griffin3)

This strikes me as a fairly clear violation of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. See Rule 8.04(a)(5) (prohibiting lawyers from "stat[ing] or imply[ing] an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official"). Watts's comments concerning his firm's contributions to the justices logically could serve no other purpose than to imply improper influence. (The Curmudgeonly Ex-Clerk)
It's also since been picked up by other law blogs:
Another reason not to popularly elect judges--ever, anywhere. - What About Clients
If you're not reading Overlawyered... - Point of Law

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