Thursday, October 29, 2015

Justice For All?

More often than we would like to admit, lawyers end up at the other end of the table in our criminal justice system. When they do, they often get more media attention than the average defendant and so we see what happens. Thereafter (like a year or two after), we usually see some action from the State Bar disciplinary panel, so we hear about them again. Finally, we may eventually see a few of them back in court practicing once the sentence is complete.

Recently we've heard about Barry Levinson dying in prison, allegedly because he didn't get the care he needed. The other day, Stephen Stubbs posted on his Facebook page that Parole and Probation has restricted him from practicing law "in the field," although he is okay to practice in his office or court. (He says they say this is due to his clientele and his possible interactions with police and he plans to ask Judge Cadish to rule on this restriction.)

Our question for you today is this:  Can a lawyer who is charged criminally get a fair shake in Nevada? Should a lawyer get the same treatment as everyone else or are lawyers held to a higher standard? Is the system too lenient or too harsh on lawyers?

23 comments:

  1. Too lenient. You rip somebody off the judges let you get away with it. You are a victim, you get treated like shit.

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    1. Amen to that. Nothing says bad judge like getting a ruling wrong. Think the members of the bar and the electorate need to be more vocal about this. Bench we have now is failing big time.

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  2. Boyd 2013 directs your attention to actual news you can use: Harvard's creation of a free, Internet based "complete, searchable database of American case law."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/29/us/harvard-law-library-sacrifices-a-trove-for-the-sake-of-a-free-database.html

    You're welcome.

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    1. Not impressed '13. Google Scholar is one step ahead.

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  3. Can a lawyer get a fair shake? The answer is no. Furthermore, the police enjoy busting or embarrassing a lawyer. Several federal judges have said publicly that any lawyer who is convicted of a crime would be treated harshly.

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    1. Sorry, disagree. Lawyers get away with so much, not even funny. Attorney embezzled several thousands of my money, and the Bar let him get away with it.

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    2. You could not be more correct (and 10:19 wrong). The US Attorneys Office has privately announced that it has stepped up to go after attorneys because they are more publicly visible and the deterrent effect will be greater by going after attorneys. While the Sentencing Guidelines state that loss of professional licensure and status can be a basis for a downward departure, name an attorney who has gotten such a departure on that basis? No right now it is a minefield for attorneys.

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    3. Nope, both wrong. Attorneys get away with way too much.

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    4. The AUSA's go after whatever gets them publicity and convictions, that's all they care about. As to attorneys, as a long time criminal defense attorney, I think the bench is no more or less fair to them than they are to other individuals. Look who the attorney hires to represent them, that's what drives a lot of the case. Look at the Supreme's unpublished opinions last month in disciplining Peter Nuttle and then look how they handled Brent Percival and Bob Beckett. If you don't know what you're doing, you'll get the hammer, if you know how to play the game its not so bad.

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    5. WTH did Percival do?

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    6. Looks like DUI

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    7. Shame, hope he is okay. I am not condoning the DUI. This profession is high stress, and you have to find an outlet to deal with it.

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    8. 11:17-- Absolutely. Its about publicity and pelts on the wall with AUSAs. There is an element of "The Lottery" in here where everyone seems to take glee in the destruction of other people, such schadenfreude so long as its never you.

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    9. I agree with those federal judges. With the special privileges that comes with being a member of the bar comes increased responsibilities and integrity obligations. If you don't like it, resign from the bar and do something else.

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    10. What exactly did Keith Gregory do to merit ten years or whatever the sentence was? Never really understood. Whenever a defendant is tried with others it increases the likelihood of their being found guilty whether or not they are guilty. Gregory seemed to be the least culpable of the pack.

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    11. 4:46-- Keith Gregory was the attorney for a bad guy. The bad guy claimed that Keith's services were used in the commission of his crime. So Keith was guilty of not screening his clients. That will cost him 87% of 120 months of his life. Keith's real mistake was in not seeing the torches and pitchforks and understanding that there was no way out of this alive without them tearing him apart.

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    12. Under the guidelines, if you are a lawyer, you get 2 levels for special skill, another 2 for sophisticated means, you don't get 3 levels for acceptance of responsibility if you go to trial and you get 2 more levels for obstruction if you testify because the jury didn't believe you. So you're looking at 9 levels before you even start talking about loss and in the HOA case, Mahan counted the mortgage and CD settlement amounts for condos that settled long after the Gregory group had been discovered and they had nothing to do with the settlements, or any construction.

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    13. A 9-level adjustment for your chosen profession. On the Guidelines, that is the difference between 4 years and 10 years. And you have jurors who looked at Gregory and said "He was the lawyer. He had to have known...." Think hard about everything that your clients do and now you are responsible for it (with 10 years of your life) because you were their lawyer.

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    14. I am picky as hell as to what kind of cases I take. If I think you are lying to me, you get the boot. Your reputation precedes you.

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  4. Boyd 2011-2013 still sucks.

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    1. I think you mean sux.

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