Patterico's Pontifications

3/4/2009

Kathy Kelly Retracts

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:57 pm

Following postings by Ben Sheffner, Eugene Volokh, Howard Bashman, and others, Jimmie Duncan’s attorney Kathy Kelly has posted a comment retracting her recent threat to file a complaint against me with my State Bar:

To Mr. Frey, Regarding my comments as Mr. Duncan’s counsel this past Sunday. Do I regret it “Yes”. Does it appear I was wrong “Yes”. My intent was not to harm your reputation but I had concerns on protecting my client’s right to a fair hearing. I acted rashly without thinking about it first.

I’m willing to admit that I was wrong on implying you committed any type of ethic violations. Being criticized on blog sites doesn’t bother me. I agree with the fact it was foolish. My only hesitation on posting anything on your blog is that it will only continue to focus attention on me and continue this instead of ending it. The focus should be on Mr. Duncan’s case not me. I will not read or post any more comments on your site.

Fair enough. Let us speak of it no more.

Thanks to the above bloggers for their interest in the issue.

P.S. Speaking of speaking of it no more, I’m wondering whether Steve Verdon will ever respond to my response. It’s now been 4 days, 6 hours, 29 minutes, and 38.5 seconds since I posted it. (Background here.)

UPDATE: Thanks to Eugene Volokh for the link.

UPDATE x2: Thanks also to Ben Sheffner for the link.

31 Responses to “Kathy Kelly Retracts”

  1. It’s admirable to see Ms. Kelly make a genuine apology, without rationalization or attempts to justify, and right the wrong as much as she is able. Think before speaking, a good lesson to keep in mind.

    Dana (137151)

  2. So the blogosphere can help in many ways! Sunlight remains the best disinfectant.

    As for Verdon, why, Patterico: that’s different!

    Grin.

    Eric Blair (8d54e0)

  3. Louisiana Capital Post-Conviction Project Lawyer Retracts Claim of Unethical Conduct by Blogger:…

    Patterico, the blogger involved, quotes the message from the lawyer….

    The Volokh Conspiracy (fa8fba)

  4. Sometimes I think you’re the for real deal cause of how classy you are sometimes.

    happyfeet (bf7f5a)

  5. It’s a proper apology, but this Kathy Kelly is a tremendous jerk. She’s precisely the kind of lazy, rude, and unprofessional attorney that ruins everything about our justice system.

    A man is being tarred by the media, and pretty much only one guy is willing to look into both sides of the story. He’s not being unfair or anything… just asking questions. For that, she would threaten his livelihood.

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  6. Let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who.

    Techie (6b5d8d)

  7. Let Ms. Kelly’s statement be an example to politicians and celebrities on how to end an embarassing situation with an unequivocal retraction or apology. If you’re in a hole, stop digging.

    aunursa (2aca7b)

  8. “I had concerns on protecting my client’s right…” “I was wrong on implying…”

    Good grief. If I’d known it was this easy to become a lawyer, I’d have done it. I took Latin in high school and, while not that hard, I found it unexciting. Silly me – I thought that ruled out a career in the law. Who knew you could be an attorney without being able to write grammatically?

    (Instead, I became a pastor and had to slog through Greek, Hebrew, and German. If I had it to do over…)

    Gesundheit (9ca635)

  9. Gatorade at least has accomplished the resurrection of Monty Python references with their stupid commercials.

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  10. Yeah. You’d think those crazy cats would have something to say regarding your detailed analysis of this case. Can’t they find something to at least cavil about in all that?

    Their silence is more than curious. I’m wondering if some of them died in a fire recently or something.

    j curtis (ef42f8)

  11. Hey, given the prevalence and perhaps dominance of non-apologizing apologies (“I’m sorry if you were somehow offended by my sincerely-felt, from-the-heart opinions…”), I really am impressed with Ms. Kelly’s non-weaseling,honest-to-goodness apology. It’s quite refreshing, and I grant her a fair amount of respect for it. ..bruce..

    bfwebster (2f56b4)

  12. Am I only vaguely familiar with the rules of punctuation “Yes”.

    JVW (4df72f)

  13. It didn’t work. But it didn’t cost her anything to try, just as backing out didn’t cost anything.
    No reason to think she’d not try something like this again.

    Richard Aubrey (93fd57)

  14. #11 JVW:

    Am I only vaguely familiar with the rules of punctuation “Yes.”

    FTFY.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  15. Wow, so professional norms and codes like the Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct actually help lawyers get along with each other and treat each other with dignity. Who knew?

    Jeff Hall (aeaca6)

  16. Her punctuation continues to bemuse…

    Joe Bingham (39578a)

  17. I think she meant:

    Do I regret it, “Yes”? or Do I regret it, “Yes”!

    Sara (dec5b7)

  18. [...] @ Popehat, Sheffner/Copyrights and Campaigns, Volokh, Hricik/Legal Ethics Forum; lawyer Kathy Kelly retracts and regrets her threat; the underlying article by Radley Balko, alleging extraordinary misconduct by Mississippi-based [...]

    March 5 roundup (1562ea)

  19. More apologies coming. Was it necessary”Yes”. Should I add mine”Yes”. Do I regret it”Yes”. How is my punctuation? Do you like it”Yes”. :)

    Emperor7 who now sees the light. (1b037c)

  20. I acted rashly without thinking about it first
    Excuse me but isn’t “acting rashly” the same with acting without thinking? Just asking.

    Emperor7 who now sees the light. (1b037c)

  21. Her apology was straight to the point, gracious and without any weaseling.

    Puts her quite a bit above our troll population for one thing.

    I think we should all try to match her graciousness on this one.

    SPQR (72771e)

  22. [...] kind of a crazy story. Apparently the misunderstanding has since been resolved with an apology from the defense attorney. Still, it’s a good reminder of just why it’s [...]

    the imbroglio » Blog Archive » Blog with care (570fd4)

  23. The threatening letter is standard procedure for lawyers. There was never any chance of her threat succeeding and she knew it. She said she was wrong – well that’s nice. But what she did that was wrong was to deliberately make a spurious threat. And she, along with just about every lawyer in the universe, thinks that is ethical. Patterico has a big megaphone, so she apologized – for being wrong about her point, as if she actually ever believed it. But she and others do what she still thinks is ethical every day with impunity. They basically have a license to abuse the public.

    I’m sensitive to this because I recently had to counter threaten a lawyer with harassment charges to get him to leave my 80s dad alone.

    Patterico – if you care about this, can you organize a team of lawyers to handle threatening letters sent to chumps like my dad, pro bono? Or at least have a site where their letters can be posted for all to see the garbage they say is the law? Now that would actually make a difference.

    Amphipolis (fdbc48)

  24. The threatening letter is standard procedure for lawyers.

    No, it’s not. It’s the fringes. A good lawyer who has a good case just files a complaint and has a summons served. I loved having the defendant’s attorney call and say “Make a demand” and me saying “It’s in my prayer for relief”.

    I’m sensitive to this because I recently had to counter threaten a lawyer with harassment charges to get him to leave my 80s dad alone.

    You could just throw the letters in the garbage? I did have one attorney who told me she was genuinely offended that I never responded to her cease and desist letter, but we were able to deal with each other courteously and professionally after she filed suit.

    nk (502275)

  25. No, it’s not.

    Maybe you have never been to Philadelphia.

    Actually, my Dad wasn’t even there – but the car he once owned was. That was enough for four years of persistent letters from multiple lawyers who tied him to a hit and run because he was once associated with the car and he actually exists.

    And that is just one story. There are others.

    Amphipolis (fdbc48)

  26. All I can say is, if you get a letter from a lawyer and not a summons from a process-server, all you have to fear is fear itself.

    nk (502275)

  27. An underlying question does not seem to have been directly addressed: Are there any ethical limitations on a member of the bar interviewing represented persons when the member is engaged in blogging or other journalism and does not represent a party involved in the case? If the member is acting as a lawyer, every state forbids direct contact, so that the lawyer must communicate only through counsel or with counsel’s consent. If the lawyer can doff his/her coif and just be a journalist (albeit a journalist very well informed about the law), then no legal ethics question arises. I, and any conscientious lawyer-blogger, would appreciate a well-reasoned answer.

    TH Makeig (cd0730)

  28. TH Makeig,

    I would suggest emailing Patterico because this thread is mostly dead and your question may not get noticed. My very limited understanding (I am not a lawyer, but I’ve followed the thread and links) is that as long as the blogger is not representing anyone involved, they are acting as a private citizen/journalist. It would be much wiser to ask Patterico however… I’m a nurse.

    His email is “Patterico” at gmail dot com. (stupid spambots will target any actual address… even in the comments. Good luck.

    Stashiu3 (460dc1)

  29. The answer is simple, Stashiu. It’s not “represented party”. It’s “represented party-opponent”. That’s the whole rule.

    If you’re not representing a party, you can talk to a party as though you were a milkman and not a lawyer. And if you are representing a party, you can talk to any non-party, including your opposing party’s witnesses, as though you were their Aunt Fanny calling to see if the baby got over its colic. As a matter of fact, in criminal cases at least, it is unethical for an attorney to advise his witnesses not to talk to the opposing side.

    I suspect TH Mahig is a graduate of The Radley Balko School of Law where they teach them to “speak legalese” but not understand it.

    nk (8b95c5)

  30. Thanks nk, so it’s even broader than I had thought. Much obliged.

    Stashiu3 (460dc1)

  31. Well, at least some people are kind enough to confront and ask for a retraction before taking any action.

    But wouldn’t the advice be to think before you type? Speaking and typing are quite different. All of us are prone to “slips of the keyboard” that we later regret, that would most likely never slip past our lips in conversation.

    Angel (8b529f)


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