Friday, May 2, 2014

109th Installment. How vindictive is the state-bar establishment?—Clues from Indiana’s Ogden matter and the avaricious designs of the California State Bar


Previously, on the Ogden matter: 104th Installment. State bars assault the First Amendment: The Paul K. Ogden Matter in Indiana

New developments in the Paul Ogden Matter

The vindictiveness of the state bars is revealed only when lawyers criticize them, which—due to this very vindictiveness—happens rarely. If lawyers withhold criticism because they fear the State Bars, how can opponents prove the ordinarily silent constraint on criticism: state-bar retaliation? We must rely on courageous lawyers like Paul Ogden to take the brunt of state-bar oppression. Even the original charges against Ogden, formally acts of retaliation on behalf of a corrupt judge, substantively were retaliation for Ogden’s public criticism of Indiana’s Disciplinary Commission (D.C.) when he demonstrated the D.C.’s big-law bias, the charges having immediately followed the criticism ten months after Ogden’s (private) criticism of the judge. Recent developments in the Ogden matter definitively prove D.C. retaliation. The D.C. is acting with impunity in pursuing clear vengeance for itself by serving Ogden with another charge, the illegality blatant.

Behind the new charge is a dramatic story: because of the uncriticizable incompetence of the Indiana judiciary, a party to a family-law matter suffered 14 bullets. The victim had asked Ogden to represent her in filing a legal document removing a family-law court judge, who failed to rule on a motion within Indiana’s three-month deadline. Ogden couldn’t undertake the prospective client’s representation because of conflict of interest, this being the same judge who had complained against him, alleging ex parte communication in Ogden’s already pending D.C. matter. He provided informal assistance, the “lazy-judge praecipe” was filed and should have compelled reassignment. However, the scoundrel of a judge had his clerk delay formal receipt of the praecipe to pretend to have ruled, and the ruling was harsh and retaliatory against the woman, encouraging the other party in his murderous appetites and denying the eventual victim writ protection.

That the judge had manipulated the filing times isn’t speculation; even the Indiana Supreme Court agreed and reassigned the case. But what about the invalid order? The Indiana Supreme Court completely neglected that issue. Ogden blogged this, for which he was charged with … disclosing confidential information. 

You needn’t be a lawyer, only listen to the daily news, to know that client wishes govern disclosure, and the severely wounded victim actually confirmed from her hospital bed that she wanted the case publicized. (See Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct, rule 1.6.) Yet, without even confirming them, the D.C. brought charges for breach of client confidentiality—utterly ridiculous but, apparently, the best it could manage.

California implications

The State Bars across the country are far more similar than different. Even though California has distinct rules (which it is moving to conform still more to the national standard), Bar practices are everywhere much the same. The “laboratory of the states” is sacrificed, but the uniformity lets lawyers generalize across jurisdictional lines, important where dispositive evidence of bar retaliation is, by nature, hard to acquire. (As I wrote in Installment 22, there was a probable element of retaliation in my Bar case in 2007, but the evidence is much stronger in Ogden.)

California lawyers should worry more about retaliatory State Bar practices after Ogden. The awareness that the state-bar establishment is a vindictive claque is particularly important now, since the California Bar is trying to expand its jurisdiction: it lobbies for the right to punish nonmembers—and to retain the fines it proposes to obtain—for the unauthorized practice of law. (HT Kafkaesq.) The California Bar complains its jurisdiction must expand because the Justice Department is reluctant to prosecute (what the Bar considers) unlawful practice. For at least the third time, the California State Bar fraudulently asserts the prerogatives of a state agency.

The California Bar proposes to apply the same biased fee system, wherein respondent pays attorney fees if it loses but the Bar never pays anything. This will no doubt serve as a tool of vengeance against former attorneys incurring the sadistic rage that the state-bar establishment harbors for all principled opponents.

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