This article was originally published on Law Flog.com on March 20, 2017.
This morning the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission and the Office of Bar Counsel were served with copies of a lawsuit that could compel them to investigate three attorneys who represented Hillary Clinton during the investigation of her private email system.
In September, I filed grievances against attorneys David Kendall, Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson (as well as Mrs. Clinton herself) based on public reports suggesting that they had destroyed evidence related to the email investigation. Within six weeks (and as I predicted), the complaints were either being stonewalled or had already been dismissed.
In my October 19, 2016 post, I explained why Maryland law obligated the grievance commission and the bar counsel to investigate my complaints, but my arguments to bar prosecutors were ignored. This was not particularly surprising, because nowadays it usually requires a lawsuit to get bar prosecutors and attorney grievance commissions to follow the law.
The lawsuit served today asks the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court to order the commission and bar prosecutors to investigate Mr. Kendall, Ms. Mills and Ms. Samuelson, and lawyers for the commission and prosecutors have 30 days to respond in writing. I’m anxious to see how they will try to defend the indefensible.
In re Hillary Rodham Clinton
My bar grievance against Mrs. Clinton has been pending with the Arkansas Supreme Court’s Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel since August 31, 2016, and you can read the background information by clicking here. On March 4, 2016, Chief Disciplinary Counsel Stark Ligon wrote in an email that his office was still trying to figure out how to proceed with my complaint against Mrs. Clinton.
I don’t think it’s all that difficult to figure out. If a peon lawyer like me had been accused of lying under oath, destroying evidence and obstructing justice, bar prosecutors would have immediately sent a letter demanding that I respond to the charges in detail. If I was unable to provide a satisfactory explanation, the bar would file charges against me. But of course, Mrs. Clinton is not a peon lawyer like me.
As I’ve said from the outset, my bar grievances against Mrs. Clinton and her lawyers have little to do with Mrs. Clinton and her lawyers and a lot to do with illustrating the rampant politicization and corruption among the various grievance committees and state bar prosecutors. If you’re a lawyer with political connections, you can get away with almost anything, and Mrs. Clinton and her lawyers are helping prove my point.
Within a month or two, I plan to file a petition for mandamus with the Arkansas Supreme Court.
Dirty in D.C.
As my regular readers know, I also filed bar grievances against Mr. Kendall, Ms. Mills and Ms. Samuelson with the District of Columbia bar, where they are also admitted. That complaint was likewise whitewashed, so I filed a petition for mandamus with the D.C. Court of Appeals, asking it to order bar prosecutors to follow the law.
If a petition for mandamus establishes that the government is ignoring the law, appellate courts normally order the government agency to explain itself (then again, that assumes that the courts themselves actually follow the law, and most of us know better than that). In this case, a three-judge panel dismissed my petition out of hand in a perfunctory December 30, 2016 order, citing Board of Professional Responsibility Rule 2.4 for the premise that “the decision of Disciplinary Counsel to not docket a complaint is not subject to review.”
To understand the absurdity of that conclusion, you have to understand the structure of the grievance system in D.C., so bear with me while I discuss a little inside baseball. The D.C. Board of Professional Responsibility is an independent board that oversees the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (“ODC”). Both the Board and the ODC are overseen by the D.C. Court of Appeals, which appoints the members of the Board. Read in context, Board Rule 2.4 states that the Board will not hear appeals from the decisions of the ODC. It says nothing about whether the Court of Appeals can review dereliction of duty via mandamus.
The Board did not (and could not) tell the D.C. Court of Appeals what it can and cannot hear, particularly in a mandamus action, because the Board is inferior to the Court of Appeals. Furthermore, the Board has a duty to investigate attorney misconduct that is independent of the obligations of the ODC, and nothing prevents the Court of Appeals from reviewing the Board’s dereliction by mandamus.
If you’re a lawyer (or not) and you’d like to check my homework, you can read the petition for rehearing en banc that I filed in the Court of Appeals on January 12, 2017. On March 3, 2017, the Court of Appeals dismissed that petition with a one-sentence order. Not a single judge on the entire appellate court voted to rehear the case. As I’ve noted several times before, when appellate courts want to do something indefensible, they do not try to defend it, i.e., they do not issue an opinion explaining the decision.
I’d like to extend a special thanks-for-nothing to Chief Judge Eric. T. Washington and Judges Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, Stephen Glickman, John Fisher, Phyllis D. Thompson, Corinne A. Beckwith, Catherine F. Easterly and Roy W. McLeese. They’re good partisan Democrats, but lousy judges. They know the D.C. grievance process is tainted and lawless, and they’re quite content to leave it that way so long as it protects people on their side of the aisle.
— Ty Clevenger