Friday, July 05, 2013

Lying, Deceitful, Dishonest Bar Members and government employees

An American Bar Association Journal article discusses the conflicts in which lawyers find themselves when assisting other government employees in lying and deceiving in order to trick criminals into revealing their crimes.

The article refers to an Oregon case of an attorney who engaged in an array of unethical activities, purportedly with a good cause in mind.  You can find the case here :

In re Gatti, 8 P.3d 966 (Oregon S.Ct. 2000)

This matter should infuriate all lawyers and non-lawyers because it shows that government employees presume they can lie and deceive the people even when perjury laws make lying to and deceiving government employees into a crime.  See 18 USC 2001 and Florida Statutes chapter 837.  By what rationale does any lying and deception become permissible or forgiveable on the basis of one's job alone?

The court in the Gatti opinion reflected on the impermissible of ALL lawyer lying and dishonesty.

DR 1-102(A)(3) provides that "[i]t is professional misconduct for a lawyer to * * * [e]ngage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation." The term "dishonesty" in the rule connotes lack of trustworthiness and integrity. In re Leonard, 308 Or 560, 569, 784 P2d 95 (1989). Misrepresentation is a broad term that encompasses the nondisclosure of a material fact. In re Weidner, 310 Or 757, 762 n 2, 801 P2d 828 (1990). A misrepresentation may be a lie, a half-truth, or even silence. In re Greene, 290 Or 291, 298, 620 P2d 1379 (1980). A material fact consists of information that, if disclosed, would have influenced the recipient's conduct. See Leonard, 308 Or at 567-69 (failure to disclose true impact of interlineated items in lease material, because disclosure would have prevented other signatories from initialing lease). Even a misrepresentation that is made with the best of intentions can be a misrepresentation under DR 1-102(A)(3). In re McKee, 316 Or 114, 125, 849 P2d 509 (1993).

A misrepresentation becomes fraud or deceit "when it is intended to be acted upon without being discovered." In re Hiller, 298 Or 526, 533, 694 P2d 540 (1985). However, a finding of fraud or deceit under the rule does not require evidence that the recipient of the misrepresentation relied on it. See In re Benson, 317 Or 164, 169, 854 P2d 466 (1993) ("It is enough that the accused tried to mislead.").

The prohibitions against dishonesty, fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation in DR 1-102(A)(3) are not limited to litigation or even to the representation of clients. Hiller, 298 Or at 532. To establish a violation of DR 1-102(A)(3), the Bar, at a minimum, must prove that the lawyer knowingly misrepresented a material fact. Hiller, 298 Or at 532.

A lawyer owes the public a duty of honesty and personal integrity. In re Unrein, 323 Or 285, 288, 917 P2d 1022 (1996). By misrepresenting his identity and purpose and making other false statements when he called Becker and Adams with the intention of deceiving them, the accused violated his duty to the public to maintain personal integrity. The introduction to ABA Standard 5.0 explains that "[t]he public expects the lawyer to be honest[.]" The commentary to ABA Standard 5.13 further explains that, if the lawyer's conduct "is directly related to his or her professional role, discipline is required" even if the conduct at issue is not criminal.

Article I, section 20, provides:
"No law shall be passed granting to any citizen or class of citizens privileges, or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens."

The Fourteenth Amendment provides, in part:

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall * * * deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Americans should do their best to stomp out of existence all laws and rules permitting lying, deceit, and dishonesty by attorneys and government employees.  Americans should demand that the law punish lying lawyers and government employees with twice the severity as all others.

I believe the time has come to require to record all shootings, arrests, and interactions with the public, and to surrender and submit the recordings for court and public scrutiny within 2 hour after an incident as proof of what happened.  Furthermore, all vehicle-based devices should have satellite phones or other means of uploading the video in real time to prevent tamperiing.

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