President of Alabama State Bar replies to charges of misconduct by Bar member US Attorney Leura Canary: I’m not interested so stop contacting me.

J. Mark White, President of the Alabama State Bar, responded to my e-mails regarding the unethical conduct of Leura Garrett Canary, who is herself a member of the Alabama State Bar. Here is his e-mail, quoted in full, and my response to him.

E-mail from J. Mark White, Esq., President of the Alabama State Bar:

J. Mark White <>
[other e-mail addresses deleted]
date Sat, Dec 6, 2008 at 7:42 PM
subject RE: Alberto Gonzales and Leura Canary named to Top Ten Prosecutors list for 2008

Please do not send additional emails to me. If you have a complaint file it with the Alabama State Bar. The process and forms are on the web site. If you feel so strongly about this matter please exhibit the courage to file a formal complaint. I assure you complaints are handled in a professional manner. Emails to a mass of people accomplish nothing. Take me off your email list.
Mark White

Mr. White,

Thank you for replying to my e-mail. At your request, I’ve removed your name from my general e-mail list.

Responding to allegations of unethical conduct by affirmatively requesting to receive no further information does nothing to advance the credibility of your claim that complaints of attorney misconduct in Alabama are handled professionally. Consider also this e-mail I received from Roger Shuler:

About three years ago, I filed a bar complaint against Bill Swatek, the lawyer who filed the bogus lawsuit that started all of my legal headaches. The Alabama State Bar didn’t even investigate it. Swatek has a 30-year history of ethical problems with the bar, including a suspension of his license.

Under bar rules, an attorney with that kind of history is supposed to be scrutinized even more heavily when new complaints arrive. Also, the fact Swatek was opposing counsel (not my attorney) is supposed to irrelevant under bar rules. He still owes a duty to the opposing side to conduct himself in an ethical manner.

When I questioned the bar about their failure to act on my Swatek complaint, one of McLain’s staff people at the time admitted that they get so many complaints that they usually don’t do anything with the ones involving opposing counsel.

Not exactly an awe-inspiring example of professionalism. He has a more at his blog.

Mr. White, I specifically copied you on only two (2) e-mails. I first copied you on the e-mail I sent to Tony McClain, the General Counsel of the Alabama State Bar, because he has the authority to initiate a disciplinary investigation on his his own motion based on information he receives or acquires from any source. This e-mail regarded the unethical conduct of Leura Garrett Canary, a member of the Bar of which you are the elected President. I then also copied you on an e-mail announcing that Leura Garrett Canary had been named one of this country’s Worst Prosecutors for the year 2008.

However, someone of your professional and personal accomplishment should realize that I didn’t just add your name to ‘a mass of people [who can] accomplish nothing.’ Check again the first e-mail you received from me. Note that I copied you on these e-mails in your professional capacity as President of the Alabama State Bar Association. I did this to establish that you have – at a minimum – constructive knowledge of Ms. Canary’s conduct.

Your reply, however, also – rather amateurishly – confirmed that you actually received both of my e-mails, including the first e-mail in which I tediously detailed for you Ms. Canary’s unethical conduct as well as the specific Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct that her conduct violated. You, therefore, also confirmed that you are “[a] lawyer possessing unprivileged knowledge of a violation of Rule 8.4” by Ms. Canary, pursuant to Rule 8.3, Reporting Professional Misconduct of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct, which requires that you “shall report such knowledge to a tribunal or other authority empowered to investigate or act upon such violation.” [My emphasis] As explained in the Comments to Rule 8.3 , your “failure to report a violation would itself be a professional offense.”

When you were elected President of the Alabama State Bar Association, it was reported that your theme ‘might be “justice for all.”‘ Your press release from the Alabama State Bar states that “the goals of [your] administration would be[] ‘to remove barriers to justice for Alabama’s poor, to embark on an immediate course to change the nature of state judicial elections, and to champion efforts that increase the public’s confidence in our system of justice…'[, and that key] projects will include … [a]ssisting the bench and bar in improving civility and professionalism . [My emphasis] My hope was that you would receive my e-mail and live up to your words. However, your reply establishes your words are without the substance of conviction.

And none of this is changed because I publish anonymously. There are many reasons, as you know, to publish under a pseudonym not the least of which is sound tactics. It wasn’t cowardice when Thomas Paine wrote Common Sense under the pseudonym Publius. Since publishing his work was an act of treason punishable by death, it was self-preservation. Thanks to men and women like Thomas Paine, the words I publish are not treason. But even though I won’t face prosecution for treason, don’t believe that I face no threats because I choose to publish as I do. And it’s not paranoia if they ARE out to get you . The ounce of prevention anonymity provides me – hopefully – is just a pound of cure but it does not make me a coward. Anyway, I don’t think that you even believe your charge of cowardice.

But it especially surprised me that a self-proclaimed champion of the integrity of the justice system who wants ‘justice for all’ would resort to calling me a coward especially while displaying true champion’s courage by asking me to leave him alone. Although you claim to seek justice for all, you have failed to actually do anything when the cause of justice demands action. In short, Mr. White, the question must be directed to you: where’s the courage demanded by your own words?

Please also note that I have removed you from my general e-mail list, but I will continue to send e-mails to you in your official capacity as President of the Alabama State Bar. If you do not wish to receive these e-mails, your computer department can show you how to digitally stick your head in the sand (just ask them how to block my e-mails). Alternatively, you could resign as President of the Alabama State Bar Association since you don’t want to fulfill your obligations to the Alabama State Bar and the public you swore to serve.


Crossposted at Oxdown Gazette.

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Update on Wes Teel

As I noted previously, Roger Shuler at the Legal Schnauzer has been following the plight of Wes Teel and his political prosecution by the Department of Justice. In his post, Shuler links to a comment made by Scott Horton at Mark Crispin Miller’s News From Underground and to an interview of Mr. Horton by Sam Seder at Ring of Fire Radio .

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Legal Schnauzer as interpreted by attorney legal*

Although I appreciated very much this post at Legal Schnauzer and the new visitors it generated here at the Grievance Project, I didn’t intend to post about it until I saw this post at attorney legal*.

Compare the schnauzery Legal Schnauzer:

E.M.’s efforts hit close to home for us here at Legal Schnauzer. As someone who has been repeatedly cheated by multiple attorneys–both my own and the dirtbag on the other side–and seen unlawful rulings issued by some 20 judges, I have enough material to keep Grievance Project going for months.

It would be nice to see other lawyers join E.M. in an effort to shine light on a profession that badly needs to be sanitized.

Unfortunately, most lawyers I’m aware of are making a pretty good living with the system the way it is. They don’t want to upset an ugly applecart that is compensating them far better than some other profession (journalism?) would.

with the strangely poetic attorney legal*:

E.M.’s efforts hit close to cave for us here at Legal Schnauzer. As someone who has obsolete repeatedly cheated by multiple attorneys–both my own and the dirtbag on the unprocessed side–and seen unlawful rulings issued by some 20 judges, I have satisfactory perceptible to keep Grievance Project going for months.

It would be nice to see current lawyers join E.M. in an effort to shine light on a profession that badly requirements to be sanitized.

Unfortunately, uttermost lawyers I’m aware of are making a picture reputable living with the classification the way it is. They don’t requirement to upset an ugly applecart that is compensating them far better than some current profession (journalism?) would.

There are a lot more interpretations of the Legal Schnauzer by attorney legal*.

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It’s not paranoia if they ARE out to get you, No. 4

h/t: Nonnie at Hysterical Raisins, via e-mail, and Roger Shuler at Legal Schnauzer

In her July 11, 2008 Raw Story article Alabama US Attorney denies any involvement in university editor’s termination, Lindsay Beyerstein shines light on the political firing of blogger Roger Shuler by the University of Alabama Birmingham for blogging:

The abrupt dismissal of a veteran University of Alabama employee who blogged about the firing of seven US Attorneys has added a bizarre new twist to allegations that the state’s US Attorneys targeted political opponents for prosecution.

Roger Shuler — a high-profile blogger and leading critic of Alabama’s judicial system — has written extensively about alleged corruption among U.S. Attorneys for over a year. In particular, Shuler focused on two US Attorneys from his home state: Alice H. Martin of the Northern District and Leura G. Canary of the Middle District.

An editor in the University of Alabama Birmingham publications office for the last 12 years and a university employee for 19, Shuler was placed on administrative leave May 7 and formally fired May 19.

“I had worked there for 19 years and never received anything but positive performance reviews,” Schuler [sic] wrote RAW STORY in May. “I never received an oral warning about anything. Then I was fired without warning, contrary to university policy and almost certainly in violation of federal law.”

Though he admits he can’t prove it, Shuler believes that he was fired for criticizing Alice Martin and other high-ranking political players in Alabama, including Canary, and Alabama’s Republican governor, Bob Riley.

He’s not alone. Scott Horton, a journalist for Harper’s Magazine and a professor at Columbia University who has written extensively about the US Attorney scandal, also believes Shuler’s firing was politically fueled.

“Shuler’s problem arose not because he blogged nor because he did so from his workplace, because it’s clear he didn’t,” says Horton, who has been following both the Siegelman and Shuler’s cases closely. “His problem came from the fact that he wrote critical, well received insights targeting a number of very powerful figures in Alabama, starting with U.S. Attorney Alice Martin and prominent Republicans with which she is aligned, and including a number of major figures in the Alabama media.”

These allegations are just the introduction to the article. Beyerstein follows with the details that back up these allegations in the remainder of Alabama US Attorney denies any involvement in university editor’s termination .

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