8.17.2008

Serious Journalism Alert-Kevin Slaten May Have Violated Attorney Rules

Anyone want to file a Bar Complaint on Kevin Slaten? We all know of Slaten's ability to make an ass of himself. Sadly this man went to law school and passed the same bar exam I did. He isn't really a credit to the profession, and his recent comments could land him in hot water with the Supreme Court of Missouri.

On Friday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a story on Kevin Slaten’s reaction to a St. Louis County Circuit Judge’s ruling on the enforceability of the non-compete clause in Slaten’s contract with KFNS. The full story is here. Here are three quotes attributed to Slaten which could land him in trouble with the Supreme Court of Missouri:

"Based on a ruling like this, according to this court, we live in Baghdad,''

"In the United States of America, you can be prevented from earning a living because some judge says so,'' Slaten said.”I think that's a disgrace, a total disgrace. In Baghdad you can be prevented from making a living. In Moscow you can be prevented from making a living — and in St. Louis you can be prevented from making a living. That's what these three cities have in common. This judge would serve well in Moscow, he'd be perfect in Baghdad.''

"This judge needs to recuse himself from any other proceedings in this case,'' Slaten said. "He obviously has a dislike for me. None of what he wrote is supported by any of the testimony. I defy him to show me the testimony that supports what he concluded. ... The testimony is 100 percent to the opposite.''

While none of this seems to be too out-of-line for Slaten, one must remember, that sadly Slaten is an attorney himself, Missouri Bar number 36656, and as an active member of the Missouri Bar, subject to the rules of the Supreme Court of Missouri. As such, Slaten’s comments may land him in hot water with the Missouri Bar’s Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel. It appears from the context of the article that Slaten was trying to couch his comments in terms of being a litigant than being an attorney. However, this attempted bit of cleverness may not be enough for Slaten to escape trouble. An attorney is an attorney always, no matter what time of day it is, or what day of the week it is. Whether Slaten was acting as an attorney or as a client doesn’t matter, as he is always subject to the authority of the Supreme Court of Missouri.

You may be asking yourself “what did he do wrong?” Well, for starters, Slaten’s comments, if he actually said them, appear to be a violation of Missouri Supreme Court Rule 4-4.84: Misconduct. That rule, among other things, states:

It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:(a) violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another;(b) commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects;(c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation;(d) engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice;(e) state or imply an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official or to achieve results by means that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law; (f) knowingly assist a judge or judicial officer in conduct that is a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct or other law; or(g) manifest by words or conduct, in representing a client, bias or prejudice based upon race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, or sexual orientation. This Rule 4-8.4(g) does not preclude legitimate advocacy when race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, or other similar factors, are issues.


In addition, in Rule 4-3.5, states:

A lawyer shall not:(a) seek to influence a judge, juror, prospective juror, or other official by means prohibited by law;(b) communicate ex parte with such a person during the proceeding unless authorized to do so by law or court order;(c) communicate with a juror or prospective juror after discharge of the jury if:(1) the communication is prohibited by law or court order;
(2) the juror has made known to the lawyer a desire not to communicate; or
(3) the communication involves misrepresentation, coercion, duress, or harassment; or(d) engage in conduct intended to disrupt a tribunal.

Comment 4 to this rule sums up Slaten’s possible misconduct:

[4] The advocate's function is to present evidence and argument so that the cause may be decided according to law. Refraining from abusive or obstreperous conduct is a corollary of the advocate's right to speak on behalf of litigants. A lawyer may stand firm against abuse by a judge but should avoid reciprocation; the judge's default is no justification for similar dereliction by an advocate. An advocate can present the cause, protect the record for subsequent review, and preserve professional integrity by patient firmness no less effectively than by belligerence or theatrics.

So what does one do, knowing that Slaten may have violated his professional obligations as an attorney? Anyone can file a confidential complaint against Slaten through the Missouri Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel, here. As an attorney, I may be obligated to file a complaint, because I know of his misconduct. Of course, if any Bertflex.com reader wants to file their own complaint, and needs help, let me know.

What will happen if Slaten is reported? He would probably get reprimanded. Some of our readers may remember former St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Buzz Westfall ran into similar hot water when he called the Missouri Court of Appeals “dishonest.”

2 comments:

hazelwood's most wanted said...

"bertflex.com won't let me make a living - they might as well be blogging about the baghdad cardinals!!"

very nice hack. we ought to look into being jerks and reporting the king to the MO bar.

Big Head said...

Slaton = fucked.