From our friend and colleague, Karen Rubin, attorney at Thompson Hine in Cleveland, Ohio:
Do we need another reminder about the perils of posting internet comments on cases and matters we are connected with? Apparently we do, and here’s a strong one. Earlier this month, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana was disbarred based on hundreds of comments he posted pseudonymously on the website of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The posts included many related to high-profile cases he or his colleagues in the U.S. Attorney’s office were prosecuting, including government bribery scandals and the killing of two unarmed residents by the police following Hurricane Katrina.
In its opinion, the Louisiana Supreme Court wrote that the lawyer’s “extrajudicial comments about pending cases” struck at “the foundation of our system.” The court felt compelled to “send a strong message … that a lawyer’s ethical obligations are not diminished by the mask of anonymity provided by the internet.”
The hearing panel had recommended a two-year suspension, with one year deferred. The court, however, adopted the disciplinary board’s disbarment recommendation, which in the Bayou State entitles a lawyer to petition for reinstatement after five years.
For the rest, click here.