May 12, 2021 20:32

Conduct Unbecoming

Here’s some interesting reading we had never heard about before:

  • United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.

    IN RE: Attorney Lori E. LIGHTFOOT.

    No. D-00-0002. Decided: May 19, 2000

    Before:  POSNER, Chief Judge, and CUDAHY and DIANE P. WOOD, Circuit Judges.

    At the end of our opinion in Lindstrom v. Graber, 203 F.3d 470 (7th Cir.2000), we directed Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Lightfoot to show cause why she should not be disciplined for conduct unbecoming a member of the bar of this court.  Fed.R.App.P. 46(c).  She responded by submitting a brief and a number of supporting documents, including testimonials to her character from lawyers whom she has appeared opposite to in court, and the Department of Justice submitted an amicus curiae brief in her support.   At her request we held an oral hearing at which she, her lawyer, and the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois presented argument to us and answered our questions.

The entire opinion ends thusly (go read it all):

  • We are troubled, finally, by the U.S. Attorney’s request that we “depublish” our previous decision.   Even if we agreed with him, as we do not, that attorney Lightfoot should not be disciplined, he has presented no reasons for supposing that our decision contained any error. We did not say that Lightfoot had engaged in conduct unbecoming a member of the bar, but only that there was a sufficient likelihood of this to require a disciplinary proceeding;  and nothing in the U.S. Attorney’s submission suggests that this “probable cause” finding was erroneous. The request to vacate our decision, which we of course deny, suggests to us that the U.S. Attorney still does not appreciate the gravity of the situation demonstrated by the uncontested facts, which reveal that the Justice Department’s failure to equip its attorneys with the necessary expertise to opine on difficult issues relating to extradition precipitated the filing of a misleading motion by the Department that caused this court to lose jurisdiction over an appeal by a person who claims that he had been ordered extradited in violation of law.

Seems Groot has a somewhat shaky relationship with the truth.

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