• November 17, 2011

Our legal system is often subtle and delicate, for example, the way it generally maneuvers around the words “liar,” “lying,” and “dishonest.”  This may be a good thing because these words seem to go to one’s fundamental character.  Circumlocutions like, “The judge failed to be candid and honest,” or “This statement is an affirmative misrepresentation,” on the other hand, seem “case-specific” and localized.  The words describe isolated events rather than the essence of a person’s character.  

“To maintain the fair and independent administration of justice, lawyers are encouraged to continue traditional efforts to defend judges and courts unjustly criticized,” says the commentary to Rule 8.2 of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct.

Query:  To maintain the fair and independent administration of justice, should lawyers be encouraged to continue traditional efforts (whatever those are) to condemn judges and courts who are or should be justly criticized?

Justice Page’s concurrence is interesting, incidentally.  He suggests that it could be argued that Judge Patricia Karasov did not in fact violate the residency rule that she was found to have violated by moving to Chisago County out of Hennepin County, where she is on the district court, for three months in 2009.  Nevertheless, because of clear and convincing evidence of the judge’s failure “to be candid and honest” during the investigation, Justice Page concurred with the decision to suspend Judge Karasov for six months without pay.

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