Complaint reignites debate

December 19, 2008
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At the end of October, I wrote about Indianapolis defense attorney Bob Hammerle filing a complaint with the Disciplinary Commission regarding television ads run by Attorney General Republican candidate Greg Zoeller. Hammerle has since heard back and I thought you’d like to know what the outcome of his complaint was, seeing that Zoeller will be our new attorney general.

Hammerle recently sent us the response from the Disciplinary Commission, which did not find an appropriate basis for formal action. Donald Lundberg noted that it would be difficult to punish Zoeller’s campaign speech in the ads aimed at Democratic opponent Linda Pence because it deals with public affairs and political discourse, which is at the heart of the First Amendment.

Lundberg did say in the letter that Hammerle’s complaint about the ads touched on a debate that’s happened in the legal community for years – should attorneys be judged by the clients they keep?

In theory, the answer is no, but in practice, some people’s opinions of certain attorneys may be defined by the clients they represent. Lundberg sees this debate as more of a philosophical one than one as foundation for disciplinary actions. Because this has been such an ongoing topic in legal ethics, we think the idea deserves a closer look. Indiana Lawyer reporter Michael Hoskins is going to explore this issue in a future issue of the paper. I’ll let you know when it will be published.
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  • good article, issue of concern
    The state bars have gone way to far towards punishing lawyers for polically incorrect speech. In Re Campiti mocks the First Amendment. This rule needs to be shoved back hard. Luncbergs recent article in Res Gestae was instructive but this trend is BAAAD for lawyers and free speech.

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