Hello, readers, once again it has been awhile.
I’d like to kick off the new year of blogging with an update. Remember Alex Jones’s lawyers? The one who belatedly turned over a bunch of his client’s text messages, but with it dumped some confidential records (including medical records) of some of the the Sandy Hook families?
In what seems like lightning speed, one of the lawyers, last week Norman Pattis, was suspended for six months from the practice of law by a Connecticut judge. (No, this was not the one in Texas who chose to close with a quote from the anti-Nazi pastor Martin Niemöller. There is a lot going on here.)
I admit a lack of familiarity with Connecticut’s system, but we only learned of the data dump at Jones’s Texas trial in August, 2022. It’s only been five months. An Order to Show Cause hearing was held only a few weeks after that revelation (Pattis took the Fifth, which the linked article says is “unusual” in disciplinary proceedings, but it does happen, if the line of questioning implicates potential criminal exposure. Lawyers can’t take the Fifth to avoid talking about whether they missed a deadline or had a conflict of interest, though. )
While Wisconsin has a mechanism to summarily suspend a lawyer’s license, that’s only available in the case of a criminal conviction. Otherwise, it can take several months to several years for a disciplinary complaint to work itself through the system, ending with a Supreme Court order. I don’t really know where the “sweet spot” is for case processing—on one hand, lawyers are entitled to due process and rushing things can interfere with that (and, also, there are practical considerations—investigations take time because investigators are working on multiple matters, key witnesses need to be located and then don’t call back, etc. And, yes, sometimes we on the respondent side need a bit more time, too). But on the other hand, too long may be a disservice to the public, the grievant, and the respondent alike. Anyway, that’s a subject for another day.
Anyway, law consumers of Connecticut didn’t have to wait too long to see results. (Pettis applied for, and was denied, a stay of suspension, so it remains in effect.)
Law consumers of DC, on the other hand, may still be waiting. Last update I could find, Pettis was benched, and then asked to be excused entirely, from participating in another high-profile trial, this time involving the “Proud Boys” seditious conspiracy case. (As of this post, I have not learned his fate.)
It’s always something, isn’t it?