Attorney Dishonesty, Misconduct, and Corruption

How Attorneys Violate the Rules, Commit Fraud Upon the Court, and Corrupt the Legal Process

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From my personal experience, attorneys violate the rules that they are supposed to live by; attorneys commit fraud upon the courts; and attorneys corrupt the legal process.

I fear that attorneys have broken the rules for so long that even the "honest" attorneys now have an ethical standard that is far below what should exist.  My comments are directed at litigators; I hope other types of attorneys are more ethical.

This articles discusses How Attorneys Violate the Rules, Commit Fraud Upon the Court, and Corrupt the Legal Process.  It is important to you because you need to constantly be aware of when the attorneys you are involved with are violating their rules, the rules of civil procedure, or various criminal statutes.  I am not an attorney, and this is not legal advice; this reports my experience and observations.

 I am using the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct for this article.  Your state's rules will vary.  Be sure to compare this to your state's rules.

These are the rules of the state bar association, which is where the problems begin.  An association of the attorneys is not the entity that should be policing the attorneys.  It has not worked, and it will never work.  These rules need to be made state law, and the policing should be done by special grand juries.

I am listing only the rules that I find attorneys are most likely to break.

Oath of Attorneys

"I,_________________, swear that I will truly and honestly, justly and uprightly conduct myself as a member of this learned profession and in accordance with the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct, as an attorney and counselor and that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Georgia. So help me God."

Rule 1.2 (D) SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION -- A lawyer shall not counsel a client to engage in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent, nor knowingly assist a client in such conduct, but a lawyer may discuss the legal consequences of any proposed course of conduct with a client and may counsel or assist a client to make a good faith effort to determine the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law.

Rule 1.2 (E) SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION -- When a lawyer knows that a client expects assistance not permitted by the rules of professional conduct or other law, the lawyer shall consult with the client regarding the relevant limitations on the lawyer's conduct.

RULE 3.1 MERITORIOUS CLAIMS AND CONTENTIONS -- In the representation of a client, a lawyer shall not: (a) file a suit, assert a position, conduct a defense, delay a trial, or take other action on behalf of the client when the lawyer knows or when it is obvious that such action would serve merely to harass or maliciously injure another; (b) knowingly advance a claim or defense that is unwarranted under existing law, except that the lawyer may advance such claim or defense if it can be supported by good faith argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law."

Rule 3.1 -- The advocate has a duty to use legal procedure for the fullest benefit of the client's cause, but also a duty not to abuse legal procedure.

Rule 3.1 -- The filing of an action or defense or similar action taken for a client is not frivolous merely because the facts have not first been fully substantiated or because the lawyer expects to develop vital evidence only by discovery. Such action is not frivolous even though the lawyer believes that the client's position ultimately will not prevail. The action is frivolous, however, if the client desires to have the action taken primarily for the purpose of harassing or maliciously injuring a person, or, if the lawyer is unable either to make a good faith argument on the merits of the action taken or to support the action taken by a good faith argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law.

Rule 3.1 -- "It is not ethically improper for a lawyer to file a lawsuit before complete factual support for the claim has been established provided that the lawyer determines that a reasonable lawyer would conclude that there is a reasonable possibility that facts supporting the cause of action can be established after the filing of the claim; and provided further that the lawyer is not required by rules of procedure or otherwise to represent that the cause of action has an adequate factual basis. If after filing it is discovered that the lawsuit has no merit, the lawyer is obligated to dismiss the lawsuit or in the alternative withdraw."

RULE 3.2 EXPEDITING LITIGATION -- A lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to expedite litigation consistent with the interests of the client.

Dilatory practices bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

RULE 3.3 CANDOR TOWARD THE TRIBUNAL -- (a) A lawyer shall not knowingly: (1) make a false statement of material fact or law to a tribunal; (2) fail to disclose a material fact to a tribunal when disclosure is necessary to avoid assisting a criminal or fraudulent act by the client; (4) offer evidence that the lawyer knows to be false.  If a lawyer has offered material evidence and comes to know of its falsity, the lawyer shall take reasonable remedial measures.

Rule 3.3 -- The advocate's task is to present the client's case with persuasive force. Performance of that duty while maintaining confidences of the client is qualified by the advocate's duty of candor to the tribunal.

Rul3 3.3 -- Representations by a Lawyer -- The obligation prescribed in Rule 1.2(d): Scope of Representation not to counsel a client to commit or assist the client in committing a fraud applies in litigation.

Rule 3.3 -- CANDOR TOWARD THE TRIBUNAL -- False Evidence -- [4] When evidence that a lawyer knows to be false is provided by a person who is not the client, the lawyer must refuse to offer it regardless of the client's wishes. [5] When false evidence is offered by the client, however, a conflict may arise between the lawyer's duty to keep the client's revelations confidential and the duty of candor to the court. Upon ascertaining that material evidence is false, the lawyer should seek to persuade the client that the evidence should not be offered or, if it has been offered, that its false character should immediately be disclosed. If the persuasion is ineffective, the lawyer must take reasonable remedial measures. The rule generally recognized is that, if necessary to rectify the situation, an advocate must disclose the existence of the client's deception to the court or to the other party. Such a disclosure can result in grave consequences to the client, including not only a sense of betrayal but also loss of the case and perhaps a prosecution for perjury. But the alternative is that the lawyer cooperate in deceiving the court, thereby subverting the truth-finding process which the adversary system is designed to implement. See Rule 1.2(d): Scope of Representation.

Rule 3.3 -- CANDOR TOWARD THE TRIBUNAL -- Remedial Measures -- If perjured testimony or false evidence has been offered, the advocate's proper course ordinarily is to remonstrate with the client confidentially. If that fails, the advocate should seek to withdraw if that will remedy the situation. If withdrawal will not remedy the situation or is impossible, the advocate should make disclosure to the court. It is for the court then to determine what should be done-making a statement about the matter to the trier of fact, ordering a mistrial or perhaps nothing. If the false testimony was that of the client, the client may controvert the lawyer's version of their communication when the lawyer discloses the situation to the court. If there is an issue whether the client has committed perjury, the lawyer cannot represent the client in resolution of the issue, and a mistrial may be unavoidable.

Rule 3.3 -- CANDOR TOWARD THE TRIBUNAL -- Constitutional Requirements -- The general rule is that an advocate must disclose the existence of perjury with respect to a material fact, even that of a client.

Rule 3.3 -- Refusing to Offer Proof Believed to Be False -- Generally speaking, a lawyer has authority to refuse to offer testimony or other proof that the lawyer believes is untrustworthy. Offering such proof may reflect adversely on the lawyer's ability to discriminate in the quality of evidence and thus impair the lawyer's effectiveness as an advocate.

RULE 3.4 FAIRNESS TO OPPOSING PARTY AND COUNSEL -- A lawyer shall not: (a) unlawfully obstruct another party's access to evidence or unlawfully alter, destroy or conceal a document or other material having potential evidentiary value. A lawyer shall not counsel or assist another person to do any such act; (b)     (1) falsify evidence; (2) counsel or assist a witness to testify falsely; (f) request a person other than a client to refrain from voluntarily giving relevant information to another party unless: (1) the person is a relative or an employee or other agent of a client; or (2) the information is subject to the assertion of a privilege by the client; and (3) the lawyer reasonably believes that the person's interests will not be adversely affected by refraining from giving such information and the request is not otherwise prohibited by law; (g) use methods of obtaining evidence that violate the legal rights of the opposing party or counsel; or (h) present, participate in presenting or threaten to present criminal charges solely to obtain an advantage in a civil matter.

Rule 3.4 -- The procedure of the adversary system contemplates that the evidence in a case is to be marshaled competitively by the contending parties. Fair competition in the adversary system is secured by prohibitions against destruction or concealment of evidence, improperly influencing witnesses, obstructive tactics in discovery procedure, and the like.

Rule 3.4 -- Documents and other items of evidence are often essential to establish a claim or defense. Subject to evidentiary privileges, the right of an opposing party, including the government, to obtain evidence through discovery or subpoena is an important procedural right. The exercise of that right can be frustrated if relevant material is altered, concealed or destroyed. Applicable law in many jurisdictions makes it an offense to destroy material for purpose of impairing its availability in a pending proceeding or one whose commencement can be foreseen. Falsifying evidence is also generally a criminal offense.

Rule 3.4 -- The responsibility to a client requires a lawyer to subordinate the interests of others to those of the client, but that responsibility does not imply that a lawyer may disregard the rights of the opposing party or counsel.

RULE 4.1 TRUTHFULNESS IN STATEMENTS TO OTHERS - In the course of representing a client a lawyer shall not knowingly: make a false statement of material fact or law to a third person; or “fail to disclose a material fact to a third person when disclosure is necessary to avoid assisting a criminal or fraudulent act by a client, unless disclosure is prohibited by Rule 1.6.

Rule 4.1 -- TRUTHFULNESS IN STATEMENTS TO OTHERS - Misrepresentation --  A lawyer is required to be truthful when dealing with others on a client's behalf, but generally has no affirmative duty to inform an opposing party of relevant facts. A misrepresentation can occur if the lawyer incorporates or affirms a statement of another person that the lawyer knows is false. Misrepresentations can also occur by failure to act.

Rule 4.1 -- Statements of Fact -- This Rule refers to statements of fact. Whether a particular statement should be regarded as one of fact can depend on the circumstances. Under generally accepted conventions in negotiation, certain types of statements ordinarily are not taken as statements of material fact. Comments which fall under the general category of "puffing" do not violate this rule. Estimates of price or value placed on the subject of a transaction and a party's intentions as to an acceptable settlement of a claim are in this category, and so is the existence of an undisclosed principal except where nondisclosure of the principal would constitute fraud.

Rule 4.1 TRUTHFULNESS IN STATEMENTS TO OTHERS - Fraud by Client -- Paragraph (b) recognizes that substantive law may require a lawyer to disclose certain information to avoid being deemed to have assisted the client's crime or fraud. The requirement of disclosure created by this paragraph is, however, subject to the obligations created by Rule 1.6: Confidentiality of Information.

RULE 4.4 RESPECT FOR RIGHTS OF THIRD PERSONS -- In representing a client, a lawyer shall not use means that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden a third person, or use methods of obtaining evidence that violate the legal rights of such a person.

RULE 8.3 REPORTING PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT -- (a) A lawyer having knowledge that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, should inform the appropriate professional authority.

RULE 8.3 REPORTING PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT -- (b) A lawyer having knowledge that a judge has committed a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct that raises a substantial question as to the judge's fitness for office should inform the appropriate authority.

RULE 8.4 MISCONDUCT -- (a) It shall be a violation of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct for a lawyer to: (1) violate or attempt to violate the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another; (4) engage in professional conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;

Rule 8.4 -- The prohibitions of this Rule as well as the prohibitions of Bar Rule 4-102 prohibit a lawyer from attempting to violate the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct or from knowingly aiding or abetting, or providing direct or indirect assistance or inducement to another person who violates or attempts to violate a rule of professional conduct. A lawyer may not avoid a violation of the rules by instructing a nonlawyer, who is not subject to the rules, to act where the lawyer can not.


This Rule, as its predecessor, is drawn in terms of acts involving "moral turpitude" with, however, a recognition that some such offenses concern matters of personal morality and have no specific connection to fitness for the practice of law. Here the concern is limited to those matters which fall under both the rubric of "moral turpitude" and involve underlying conduct relating to the fitness of the lawyer to practice law.

Many kinds of illegal conduct reflect adversely on fitness to practice law, such as offenses involving fraud and the offense of willful failure to file an income tax return. However, some kinds of offenses carry no such implication. Traditionally, the distinction was drawn in terms of offenses involving "moral turpitude." That concept can be construed to include offenses concerning some matters of personal morality, such as adultery and comparable offenses, that have no specific connection to fitness for the practice of law. Although a lawyer is personally answerable to the entire criminal law, a lawyer should be professionally answerable only for offenses that indicate lack of those characteristics relevant to law practice. Offenses involving violence, dishonesty, breach of trust, or serious interference with the administration of justice are in that category. A pattern of repeated offenses, even ones of minor significance when considered separately, can indicate indifference to legal obligation.

I wanted to know what the Rules were so I could always be looking for violations.  I documented everything, and I always tried to be absolutely sure that I was complying with the Rules.  I never intentionally violated any Rule or law.

As a pro se party, I have not hesitated to file judicial complaints and Bar complaints.  In Georgia, this is the form for a Bar Complaint.  In federal court, go to the website for the circuit court of appeals for your area, and you will find the procedure and form.

Fraud Upon the Court

Fraud upon the court is action taken by an officer of the court to interfere with the proper functioning of the court.  Many of the violations identified above will, in my opinion, constitute fraud upon the court.

Fraud upon the court is grounds to get orders and judgments set aside.  That's the good news.  The bad news is that I have found that judges will ignore all the fraud of their friends and club members.

 

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

I find that attorneys routinely violate these Federal Rules of Civil Procedure:

Rule 11 -- Signing Pleadings and Motions

Rule 26 -- Duty to Disclose

Rule 30 -- Depositions by Oral Examination (Witness Coaching)

Rule 33 -- Interrogatories to Parties

Rule 34 -- Producing Documents

Rule 37 -- Failure to Make Disclosures

I made sure I had a good understanding of these rules, and I always referred to them whenever applicable issues arose.

Criminal Acts

From my experience, attorneys have violated these Georgia statutes and federal statutes:

Actions available against Attorney Wrongdoing

The first option is to file motions for sanctions in the court where the wrongdoing is taking place.

In federal court in the Northern District of Georgia, a local rule allows you to file a Complaint of Professional Misconduct with a judge in the District Court.  I filed this Complaint of Professional Misconduct against Carl H. Anderson, Jr.

A party can file a Bar Grievance against an attorney with the State Bar Association.

Criminal charges can be made to the local police or sheriff's department or to the FBI.

Since the police, sheriff, and FBI ignored these crimes, I presented them to the Fulton County Grand JuryCharges against Carl H. Anderson, Jr. and Hawkins Parnell Thackston Young for Perjury, Subornation of Perjury, Obstruction of Justice, and RICO -- Criminal Racketeering.  This is a separate criminal RICO Complaint that I filed with the Fulton County Grand Jury.

Civil Actions for State RICO Actions or Federal RICO Violations are an option.  A civil action for RICO requires proving predicate acts that are all crimes.

We need to introduce legislation in each state that will make LAWS out of each of the so-called Rules of Professional Conduct.  I have prepared 17 amendments to the Georgia Code, and the amendments on attorneys will do just that


William M. Windsor

I, William M. Windsor, am not an attorney.  This website expresses my OPINIONS.   The comments of visitors or guest authors to the website are their opinions and do not therefore reflect my opinions.  Anyone mentioned by name in any article is welcome to file a response.   This website does not provide legal advice.  I do not give legal advice.  I do not practice law.  This website is to expose government corruption, law enforcement corruption, political corruption, and judicial corruption.   Whatever this website says about the law is presented in the context of how I or others perceive the applicability of the law to a set of circumstances if I (or some other author) was in the circumstances under the conditions discussed.  Despite my concerns about lawyers in general, I suggest that anyone with legal questions consult an attorney for an answer, particularly after reading anything on this website.  The law is a gray area at best.  Please read our Legal Notice and Terms.

 


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