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Justice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-29-07 07:39 AM
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USAs, Justice Dept lawyers take oath to uphold rule of law not a political party -
Most people know that lawyers take an oath before they can practice (after law school and bar exam and application to be admitted with references, background checks etc).

The oath is the last step to a lawyer's admission to practice. The oath is taken when a lawyer is sworn into the courts of a state, and also when a lawyer is sworn into a federal district court, appellate court and the US Supreme Court. For some lawyers, being admitted to practice before the US Supreme Court is a life's dream - even if they never argue a case there.

The oath is formal, right hand is raised, the candidates take an oath that is something like this one: "You solemnly swear or solemnly and sincerely affirm, as the case may be, that you will do nothing dishonest, and will not knowingly allow anything dishonest to be done in court, and that you will inform the court of any dishonesty of which you have knowledge; that you will not knowingly maintain or assist in maintaining any cause of action that is false or unlawful; that you will not obstruct any cause of action for personal gain or malice; but that you will exercise the office of attorney, in any court in which you may practice, according to the best of your learning and judgment, faithfully, to both your client and the court; so help you God or upon penalty of perjury."

Lawyers represent unpopular people and unpopular positions - public defenders get grief for representing murders, rapists, child molesters. Lawyers are criticized for handling class actions, slip and falls - being ambulance chasers. But all lawyers basically say the same thing - we represent a client, and do our job - we don't represent the system - everyone is entitled to a defense, my job is to present the best case for my client - whether or not my client is popular.

There is a standard lawyers must uphold(and ethics boards review this when there are complaints). The standard is that a lawyer must ZEALOUSLY REPRESENT his or her client. Not kinda sorta represent, not partially represent, not half-ass represent, and not politically represent. Once someone is your client - you must zealously represent them - period.

Who is the client of a prosecutor, a justice department lawyer? Prosecutors represent the state, the people, the district at large. The Justice Department represents the federal government and the people of the United States - - us. They take positions that are tough to defend sometimes, but focus on their job. If everyone does their job, defense, prosecutor, judge, jury, witnesses, cops in criminal cases - the system works - it is not perfect, it is not 100% accurate, but it works.

When one party is NOT doing their job, upholding their oath, not zealously representing your client - the system doesn't work. Defendants are wrongfully convicted, cases are wrongly decided. In extreme cases, we no longer have justice - we have INjustice.

We had James Baker's words scorched into our brains in 2000 - "the rule of law." We have heard about activist judges, and unelected judges not doing their jobs - writing law rather than interpreting it. We have had the terms strict constructionists thrown around for years. And suddenly, we learn that Republicans, for all their words about following the law and not being activists etc etc, are doing the very things (and worse) they accuse (wrongly) Democrats of doing -- not following the rules of law, being activist, having an agenda.

Apart from the actual political firings of 8 (possibly more) USAs, and concerns about the willingness of other USAs to employ selectively political investigations and charges against Democrats but not Republicans, we have heard about several Justice Dept cases where politics, rather than the rule of law prevailed -- all to our (the client's) detriment.

One involves the handling of the government's case against tobacco companies in 2005. The Justice Dept lead lawyer said that in the final stages of that case, "Bush administration political appointees repeatedly ordered her to take steps that weakened the government's racketeering case."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20... . The political appointees told the trial team to tell witnesses to change their testimony (sounds like suborning perjury to me) and ordered told the lead lawyer "to read verbatim a closing argument they had rewritten for her." The Government's proposed penalty against the industry from $130 billion to $10 billion. The attorney apparently did what she was told to do - and there was an internal investigation but no wrong doing was found. (I heard this lead lawyer recently, she stayed on the case because she said if she resigned, the government's case would be destroyed, too hard to step in and concerns that those who stepped in would do very poorly on purpose and she couldn't speak out or ignore the order because they would remove her from the case and withdraw her pleadings - I must say, I don't agree with her, if in her place, I would have found a way to do something. Did she violate her oath? I think so).

Another case is the NH phone jamming case, where the Justice Dept lawyers said all decisions where micromanaged, and had to go up to the Attorney General for approval. The conviction was overturned on several grounds including a (deliberately?) faulty jury instruction and that (on purpose) the wrong statute had been used by the government. (If errors were deliberate oath was violated, if sloppy mistakes seems at a minimum like malpractice)

A third case is the tax evasion case, where the judge expressed concern about the government's settlement agreement, which cited the wrong statute and was missing standard language. Because of the government's (deliberate?) errors the defendant did not have to pay $100,000 in back taxes. (If errors were deliberate oath was violated, if sloppy mistakes seems at a minimum like malpractice)

My point is that all of the lawyers involved took an oath similar to the one above. The oath was violated when they failed to uphold the law, when they allowed something dishonest to be done in court without informing the court, etc. etc. Any attorney must first think about the oath they take to their state or federal court - and be true to that oath - above party and personal feelings.

What sickens me most about the DOJ politics and deceit is what it does to that oath, to the job that all lawyers do every day and to our legal system of justice. I always picture DOJ lawyers like Patrick Fitzgerald, hard working, scary smart, intense seekers of the truth and justice - and many DOJ lawyers are just that way. But what has happened with this justice dept is really sickening, and undermines the oath and the profession - and justice. I hope that the truth comes out, and all lawyers involved are brought up on ethics charges in addition to any other charges - so that the system can be righted and justice again will prevail.



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luckyleftyme2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-29-07 07:45 AM
Response to Original message
1. AMEN

IF ONLY THE BRAVE WOULD STEP FOWARD AND EXPOSE THIS GROUP!
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-29-07 07:59 AM
Response to Original message
2. Cross-posted at: Email-Gate FACTS: Felons, georgewbush.com, gwb43.com , et. al.
and recommended. Thanks for the serious content and considered opinion.

Summation of this issue, DU posts, articles, much more:
Email-Gate FACTS: Felons, georgewbush.com, gwb43.com , et. al.
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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ChairmanAgnostic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-29-07 07:59 AM
Response to Original message
3. When I was sworn in, We swore an oath to protect the constitution
seymor Simon, the now deceased Illinois Supreme Court Justice left us with three words of advice. Support the constitution, at all costs. Help those who need the help the most. Keep up researching and learning - you can never learn too much.
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Justice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-29-07 08:00 AM
Response to Original message
4. LA Times article from GD post hightlights these issues
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

I am cross posting to a GD that highlights many of my points - by DeepModem Mom - great post!
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C_U_L8R Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-29-07 08:07 AM
Response to Original message
5. Can they be disbarred ?
Seems like they've been behaving pretty unethically
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Justice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-31-07 05:11 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. I suspect they will all face ethics charges in states where admitted
Recall Clinton faced ethics charges before the bar in Arkansas as a result of the perjury conviction.
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