ERIC DETERS UPS ANTE AND QUESTIONS THE HONESTY OF TRIAL COMMISSIONER FRANK DOHENY AND BAR COUNSEL LINDA GOSNELL IN YOUTUBE VIDEO
By LawReader Special Reporter Gwen Billingsley:
Eric Deters has been ordered to appear in a Rule 11 hearing in July before U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves. In a controversial video posted on YouTube.com he discusses the ethics charges pending against him, and the potential Rule 11 sanction noticed by Judge Reeves.
Deters says in the internet video that he is looking forward to the hearing.
He then goes on to challenge the integrity of the Trial Commissioner (Frank Doheny) who refused to remove himself from Deters ethics case after disclosing that his law partner received a legal fee from the client who filed a complaint against Deters.
Deters says “I charged the client $1500 as a legal fee and the Trial Commissioner who heard his case had a law partner who charged the same client $25,000 to settle the same case.” He alleges that the Trial Commissioner should have recused himself but refused to do so.
In the video Deters leans towards the camera and proclaims:
(Trial Commissioner) “Frank Doheny is dishonest”. (KBA) “Bar Counsel Linda Gosnell is dishonest” and “the deputy Bar Counsel is dishonest.”
Such statements made by an attorney are rarely heard except in private conversations among lawyers. We report this statement as a public news story and have no comments on the merits of the allegations, that is a matter for others to decide. We merely report the existence of the video which was published on YouTube.
Attorneys conduct and speech is regulated by Supreme Court Rules. Recently the Bar Counsel sought sanctions against an attorney who wrote a letter critical of actions of the Legislative Ethics Commission. The rule (SCR 3.130 (8.2) forbids an attorney from questioning the integrity of a judicial officer or public legal officer. The sparse language of the rule makes it difficult to understand if the parties mentioned by Deters fall within the purview of the Supreme Court Rule but it mentions, “Judges and public legal officers”. The rule says an attorney can be sanctioned for questioning the “integrity” or “qualifications for office” of a judicial officer.
Deters and several other attorneys have sued the KBA in Federal Court for abridgement of their First Amendment free speech rights. Judge Danny Reeves dismissed a recent lawsuit against the Bar Association and interpreted SCR 3.130 (8.2) as allowing the KBA to sanction any attorney even for “true but reckless” statements. The rule provides no definition of the word “reckless” or explains who gets to determine if a statement was reckless.
An appeal on the Reeves ruling is currently pending in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Deters video may be viewed at: