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Censored by the Bar

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City Weekly, recently reported how the Utah State Bar is considering a rule change that could mean conduct reprimands for lawyers who don’t defend the justice system in Utah. ---Even prior to the rule proposal one attorney was cited for unprofessional conduct for criticizing justice courts in a recent article.

Charles Schultz, attorney cited in CW's March article "Box Elder’s Broken Court” was reprimanded for conduct “prejudicial to the administration of justice.” His quotes for the article in reference to justice courts were: “To use the term ‘justice’ for these courts is a joke.” In reference to Judge Kevin Christensen mentioned in the story Schultz was quoted as saying that he “routinely fails to advise [defendant’s] of their rights. It’s a complete power trip for him.”

Schultz is astounded that a strengthening of the rule being used against him is now being proposed. “What is next? Will lawyers be required to kneel before entering court buildings?” Schultz writes in an e-mailed statement. Will lawyers be required to call judges ‘Your Worship, Your Holiness, Your Majesty,’ or some other reverent term?"

What’s interesting about the citation is that it seems a precursor to the new proposed rule. Schultz sees a direct link between bad publicity the justice courts have received and the proposed rule change.

For a guy, facing conduct citations for speaking his mind, he certainly isn’t going to stop sharing his opinion of justice courts. “I shall never say anything good about "revenue courts!" I will accept any punishment rather than say anything good about "revenue courts!" In fact I will be disbarred before I will say anything good about "revenue courts!"”

The Utah State Bar will close it's public comment period on the proposed rule change June 14.

Read below for full statement from attorney Charles Schultz:

The proposed addition RPC 08.02, the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct to prohibit knowingly making a false statement about the judicial system and requiring lawyers to defend the judicial system, should not be adopted. It is unconstitutionally vague and ambiguous, at best. Who determines when a statement about the judicial system is 'knowingly false?" Who is to say that whatever person, committee, panel, or other entity that decides a statement about the judicial system is false, much less "knowingly false," is more qualified to determine if the statement is false or "knowingly false" than the person making the statement?

When I became a lawyer, I never dreamed that it meant giving up my Constitutional right to free speech under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. However, it is very apparent that in Utah lawyers are a subclass of citizens who have no rights under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

What is next? Will lawyers be required to kneel before entering court buildings? Will CLE mandate that lawyers take a class on how wonderful, marvelous, and perfect the judicial system is? Will a lawyer's letterhead be required to contain a reference stating how lucky he or she is to be permitted to be associated with such a wonderful and marvelous institution as the judicial system. Before they are permitted to enter a court building, will lawyers be required to kneel, and give thanks for being permitted to associate with such a holy and venerated institution as the judicial system?

Will lawyers be required to call judges "Your Worship, Your Holiness, Your Majesty," or some other reverent term?"

I also hope the proposed Rule does not include "revenue courts." Although I know it does, and in fact, the motivation of this proposed rule is in response to the various articles written about what a joke and mockery of the legal system "revenue courts" are.

I shall never say anything good about "revenue courts!" I will accept any punishment rather than say anything good about "revenue courts!" In fact I will be disbarred before I will say anything good about "revenue courts!"

It is a very sad commentary on the state of the legal system in Utah when the powers that be feel the need to adopt a rule requiring lawyers to lie about the legal system. Well, at least the proposed change does not use the phrase "Justice System." That would truly be an oxymoron.

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