Communication with Judges Self-Quiz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You represent Robin Williams in a copyright violation action against Jim Carrey. Robin claims that Carrey called himself Mork from Ork onstage, without permission, and that Carrey charged a hefty price for admission. Robin hates it when people steal his gags, and wants a jury to recognize that his rights were violated. The judge on the case is one of your brothers in the Freemasons. During the trial, you and he attend a meeting together regarding some charity work upstate, and you discuss a strategy for fundraising. Are you subject to discipline for engaging in contact with the presiding judge on your case?
Choice 1 No, because the discussion had nothing to do with the subject of representation.
Choice 2 Yes, and it does not matter what you discussed.
Choice 3 Yes, because you will arouse public suspicion.
You represent Robin Williams in a copyright violation action against Jim Carrey. You are one of the most respected intellectual property lawyers in the country, and your advice is sought by the rich, famous, and important. The judge on the case is one of your brothers in the Freemasons. During the trial, you and he attend a meeting together regarding some charity. The judge asks you prior to the meeting for some recommendations for readings on copyright law – particularly, he wants to know if one author’s book is worth reading. Are you subject to discipline for engaging in contact with the presiding judge on your case?
Choice 1 Possibly, because you are engaging in a conversation about the subject of the representation.
Choice 2 Yes, because you may never engage in ex parte discussions with a judge who presides over a trial you participate in.
Choice 3 No, because the judge merely asked you a question about copyright law in general without any reference to the case you are participating in.
Upon the invitation of some college buddies, Honorable Judge Reinhold joined an exclusive country club and resort around Miami, called Snootsville. He only plans to attend the club when he is on vacation from his bench in New York. Snootsville recently atoned for years of discrimination by allowing for an influx of Azerbaijanis and Khazakhis. Prior to this, Snootsville refused to admit any members who were residents of these former Soviet lands. Some of Judge Reinhold’s enemies – in particular, a lawyer whom the Judge beat out for a seat on the bench – have brought an ethics complaint with the state board, claiming that Judge Reinhold is a member of a discriminating club. Is Judge Reinhold subject to discipline?
Choice 1 Yes, because the club is associated with discriminatory practices.
Choice 2 No, because Snootsville has changed its ways.
Choice 3 Yes, because even if Snootsville has reformed, it had a bad reputation.
Your friend and law school colleague, Judge Chava Choize, is running for re-election to the bench. Both she and you are rabid Republicans, and you want to make your support for her and the party clear. You subsequently make a nice contribution to Judge Choize’s campaign fund. Are you subject to discipline for, essentially, bribing a judge?
Choice 1 Yes, a lawyer’s contribution to a judge’s re-election campaign is necessarily unethical.
Choice 2 Probably not, if the contribution was reasonable.
Choice 3 No, only because Judge Choize is an old friend of yours.
You, a prominent county attorney, appear before Judge Flatul every once in a while in domestic relations cases. You know Flatul to be a wise and kind old man with an astute business sense. One day, at a local bar association meeting, Judge Flatul says to you, “I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse… How about going in with me on this great oil drilling project? You got money to invest? We’ll make a killing!” Are you subject to discipline?
Choice 1 Definitely not, since oil drilling has nothing to do with domestic relations.
Choice 2 Definitely, because lawyers may not enter into any business deals with judges.
Choice 3 Possibly, in part because you occasionally appear before the judge.
Georgina Morone, the wife of your friend, Judge Okasionil Morone, is having a surprise fiftieth birthday party. Just yesterday, when you appeared before him as counsel in a personal injury matter, Judge Morone told you to be at his estate by 2:00 P.M. on Sunday. You arrive with a beautiful faux fur as a gift for Georgina. Are you subject to discipline for giving the wife of the judge a gift?
Choice 1 No, provided the gift is of reasonable value.
Choice 2 Yes, because the gift could be construed as a bribe.
Choice 3 Yes, because you appear before Judge Morone.
You represent Darren Boysenberry, the defendant in a cocaine possession case. After a burst of inspiration while tossing and turning at night, you realize a piece of the prosecution’s evidence should have been excluded during the trial. You quickly write a letter to the judge on the case and put it in your mailbox. Court is not in session for another week. Are you subject to discipline for initiating an ex parte communication with the judge?
Choice 1 Yes, unless you send a copy of the letter to the prosecutor.
Choice 2 No, because sending a letter is not an ex parte communication.
Choice 3 No, because you plan on addressing the issue when the court is back in session.

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