Recently, Steve Verdon denounced my suspicious silence for failing to respond to a Radley Balko article that Verdon felt had showed me up somehow. The article had been posted for 54 minutes with no comment from me. Suspicious!!
In case you missed it (some people don’t read on the weekends), I posted my response here. If you haven’t read it yet, I hope you will. I worked on it very hard, and tried to raise some unanswered questions and provide missing perspective in a respectful and constructive manner. (I am profoundly uninterested in starting some kind of “blog feud” with Balko over this.) I had a follow-up post here which featured an expert tentatively supporting Balko’s position (in the update).
It has now been three days, six hours, and 35 minutes (give or take a few seconds) since my original post and I am unaware of any reaction from Verdon, who is generally quick to render his opinion on any post of mine touching on Balko. Suspicious!!
Well, maybe I missed it. It’s possible.
I haven’t heard from Balko either, but I’m not going to call that “suspicious” because he’s not the one who accused me of a slow reaction to his article. He probably has better things to do than respond to me — and certainly, he has no particular duty to acknowledge my questions, legitimate though they seem to me. It’s just unusual for him not to quickly respond to any commentary from me on his work. Last night I thought maybe he hadn’t seen my posts, so I e-mailed them to him.
I have heard from someone, however: the defendant’s lawyer, who is threatening to file a (completely baseless) State Bar complaint against me.
The lawyer is Kathy Kelly of the Capital Post Conviction Project of Louisiana. That organization represents Jimmie Duncan, the Death Row inmate described in the article. In this comment to my original post, she implies that I have committed State Bar violations (which I most certainly have not) and threatens to file a State Bar complaint if I continue to contact witnesses on the case — in other words, if I continue to exercise my First Amendment rights. Excerpt from her comment:
As a lawyer you should no that you have no business talking to witnesses when you are not a party to this case. Cease immediately or I will file an ethics complaint with your state bar.
I told her: “I don’t intend to cease exercising my First Amendment right to speak about matters of legitimate public concern because some lawyer who is mis[re]presenting the content of my post threatens a bogus complaint to my State Bar.” I asked her to tell me what rule I had supposedly violated and she suddenly decided she had better things to do. After publicly implying that I had committed an ethical violation, she said: “I’m not discussing this publicly.” I demanded that she identify a specific rule I violated, or retract her comment, and she said that she was too busy to address the issue any more.
I e-mailed her last night to repeat my demand for a retraction.
So, notwithstanding any lack of reaction from Verdon or Balko, I appear to have touched a nerve with someone. Read my post to see why that might be.
UPDATE: An analysis of Ms. Kelly’s threat here.