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I am a famous actress, who would like to keep my identity confidential. Over the past week, my husband was arrested for DUI in Atlanta. While he was being arrested, I was angry and I hung my head out of the car window and told the police officer some things I am ashamed of. Specifically, I told the officer that he was going to be on national news, that I didn’t believe he was a real police officer and that he was about to “find out who I am.” He told me to “sit on (my) butt and be quiet.” I should have listened.
Is there anything you can say to make me feel better?
Anonymous Actress in Atlanta
Dear Ms. Witherspoon:
Don’t be ashamed. Judges across the country do this all the time.
For example, in In re Richardson, 760 So.2d 932 (Fla. 2000), a Florida judge, after his arrest for attempting to solicit an undercover police officer for sexual favors, repeatedly told the officer that he was a judge and that his campaign had been run by the president of the local police association. In the Matter of Collester, 599 A.2d 1275 (N.J. 1992), a New Jersey judge, during his arrest for DUI, lied to the police officer and told him he was on his way to the courthouse for an emergency. In yet another traffic stop of a judge, the Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice avoided a speeding ticket by producing judicial identification credentials instead of a driver’s license. Similar to you, the Chief Justice asked the police officer “Don’t you know who I am?” In re Heiple, No. 97-CC-1 (Cts. Commn of Illinois, Apr. 30, 1997).
In re Cofield, is a case that should make you feel better. In that case, a Connecticut judge, while driving under the influence, struck a parked state police cruiser, while the state trooper was in the vehicle. The judge had a blood alcohol level of .16%. During her arrest processing, the judge called the arresting officer an “a**hole” and threatened to “kick [his] ass.” She called a female police officer “little girl” and referred to the arresting officer and the female officer as “Ken and Barbie.” All the while, she insisted on being addressed as “Judge.” See In re Cofield, Memorandum of Decision (Connecticut Judicial Review Council February 27, 2009)
So at least you didn’t crash into the cop, threaten to physically harm him or mock him by giving him the name of a fluffy, preppy, soulless kid’s doll. Feel better yet? These judges all got disciplined and their livelihoods were affected. You, on the other hand, will still make millions of dollars making movies. If they haven’t kicked Robert Downing, Jr. out of the club yet, you will be fine. Now do you feel better?
So here is what we can take from all of this:
1. Police officers don’t care who celebrities are, who judges are and they really won’t care who life coaches are. In Indianapolis, we unfortunately had to learn again this weekend that they don’t care who police officers are either.
2. If you are ever in this situation again, sit on your butt and be quiet – even if it is your spouse on the receiving end of handcuffs.
3. But if you have an uncontrollable urge to speak, simply state “Mr. (or Ms.) Officer, I won’t bother to tell you who I am because you are all powerful and in charge. I will just sit on my butt and be quiet.” And then whisper to yourself very quietly: “And I may have my lawyer complain about your conduct sometime down the road. Thank you for time and consideration.”
Hope this helps.
Amateur Life Coach
That’s it. I am out of here. They can take this job and shove it. I have worked at this firm for 5 years and I still can’t get any R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Now that I have made reference to the music of both Johnny Paycheck and Aretha Franklin in one paragraph, can you tell me which clients I can take with me?
Resigning in Roachdale
Dear Ms. Resigning:
A client has the ultimate right to select the counsel of his or her choice. Therefore, the real question isn’t which clients you can take, but which clients can you solicit before you leave.
Under Rule 7.3, you can solicit professional employment from a prospective client if you have a prior professional relationship with the client. In most cases, this will mean that you can solicit the clients with whom you have had direct contact. If you did not have direct contact with the client, but worked on the case, you will likely not have had sufficient contact to allow you to directly solicit the client.
Listen. “Breaking Up is Hard to Do.” (That was a reference to the music of Neil Sedaka.) For more info about lawyer breakups, please refer to the ABA’s Formal Opinion 99-414 entitled “Ethical Obligations When a Lawyer Changes Firms.”
Hope this helps.
Amateur Life Coach
James focuses his practice in the areas of criminal defense, attorneys discipline defense and health care law. As a Marion County Public Defender, he represented clients in numerous jury and bench trials. James also represents clients in juvenile delinquency, appeals and post-conviction proceedings. James is a frequent ICLEF speaker on ethics, trial practice and criminal procedure. As of January 2013, he began serving as an adjunct professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law where he teaches a course on professional responsibility. To date, no student has yet stood on their desk and shouted “Oh captain, my captain!” Follow James on Twitter @jamesjbell
Questions for the Amateur Life Coach? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN