Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Reminder of What it Means to be an Attorney

Slate has this article about Jason Wright, the JAG that has defended Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, maybe the most hated man in our hemisphere.  He's being forced off the case by JAG, and has now left the Army just to remain on for at least a short bit.

Think about that.  Would you give up your life for one project you're working on?  If you're an attorney, one client?

Yeah, you might.  Some wouldn't.  But as Wright points out, he has a duty to his client, and that overrides the rest.

As an aside, I heard from a JAG friend that JAG just let go something like 200 attorneys.  They are claiming it is for budget reasons.  I think it's an attempt to cover up what they did to Wright.  Expect extreme spin.

I point this guy out because today, my blog got flooded with views.  This is a tiny, PD blog in Idaho.  It does not have a lot of viewership normally.  Today, that went haywire.  And I have to assume it is because various people were discussing my last post about the SAPD.  A PD in Ada County named John even commented that essentially my criticism was nonsense because 1. I did not provide a way to properly perform at oral argument and 2. I have an anonymous blog.

I've said this before, but I'll say it again: The SAPD is made up of attorneys and they have the same duties to their (our) clients as we do.

So, when they decide to not pursue a "nonfrivolous" argument, that's an ethical failing.

Frankly, I know the SAPD folks, and I never had much against their actual skills till lately as the evidence has begun to pile up that the work product is becoming garbage.

The obvious retort, besides making ad hominem attacks and asking me to explain how to do oral argument (step 1: PREPARE), is they are facing insane workloads and cannot be expected to function well.

Scott Greenfield recently wrote a perfectly good response to that bullshit argument so you can just go read it.  Look, you have a duty to your client, even if he is a crack addicted schizophrenic who rapes babies.  You don't get to phone it in, and claim you're just too overworked and underpaid to do your duty.  That goes for the SAPD, too.  If they can't handle the load, they need to take a stand and start refusing cases.

I'm kind of surprised that the mood about the SAPD is so protective.  Do you PDs recall this (the bill, not the post itself)?  Remember when she told us she had our back?  And she failed.  She failed horribly.  A CEO in her position would have stepped down.  I know we're used to failure in our business, but when you actually make our situation worse, it's time to say, hey, I tried, time to let someone else step up.  That would also have sent a message to the Governor and legislature: You can't put one of us on your bullshit councils, ignore us completely, fuck us, and expect us to smile and bear it.  We will simply stop participating in your charade and sue you.

After all, we're attorneys.

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