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Smearing Kyle Duncan

I can’t let this one pass. I don’t know Kyle Duncan, a Trump nominee for the federal bench, but several friends of mine do, and vouch for him. Those are my cards on the table. Today a woman named Laverne Thompson writes in The New York Times a piece contending that Duncan is unfit to be a judge [2]. Her story is emotionally gripping, for sure. Excerpts:

If you want to understand how Kyle Duncan, President Trump’s nominee to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, would serve in that role, consider how he behaved toward my late husband, John Thompson.

J.T., as we called him, spent 18 years in prison, 14 of them on death row, for a murder he did not commit. When it emerged that prosecutors in the office of Harry Connick, who was the former New Orleans district attorney, had destroyed evidence of his innocence to gain that conviction, he was granted a new trial, at which he was acquitted.

After his release, J.T. considered the long list of innocent men sent to prison by prosecutors in that same office who had withheld evidence. It was clear to him, as it is to any impartial observer, that the district attorney’s office for New Orleans has a track record of failing to turn over favorable evidence to defendants.

It is horrifying what happened to John Thompson. Thompson deserved recompense, no question about it — and eventually, the state Supreme Court agreed, and awarded him millions. So what does this have to do with Kyle Duncan? From the piece:

Mr. Duncan is best known for his work in Washington, D.C., as the former general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty [3], a conservative organization that “defends religious liberty for all.” He played a leading role in opposing the provision of the Affordable Care Act requiring employers to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives. Mr. Duncan also defended North Carolina’s photo ID law that the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit wrote had targeted black voters “with almost surgical precision.” He also defended Louisiana’s ban on gay marriage in several different courts before the Supreme Court prohibited state bans on gay marriage.

Ah, so he defended clients unpopular on the Left. Well, that settles it: he must be a BIGOT. And for the record, the Becket Fund is not a conservative organization. Take a look at their case file. [4]They defend non-Christians too, e.g., Sikhs, Orthodox Jews, and Native Americans. They are about defending religious liberty, period. Laverne Thompson, or whoever wrote this op-ed for her, is smearing Duncan by association.

He worked for the Texas solicitor general’s office — does Mrs. Thompson realize that? And hewas appointed at times by the Louisiana state Attorney General to represent the state in litigation [including representing the state in John Thompson’s lawsuit against Orleans Parish, I ought to have made clear]. Does Laverne Thompson believe that a lawyer should not defend the client he has been hired to defend?

change_me

No … but that is beside the point, she says:

Mr. Duncan, I’m sure, represented his client — J.T. would always say that everyone deserves a lawyer. But the positions Mr. Duncan argued and won are not the positions of a man who can suddenly become a fair referee in the dozens of similar cases that would come before him as a judge. Mr. Duncan’s confirmation could serve as a declaration to prosecutors that winning at all costs remains, as it has been far too often in the past, the path to success.

This is profoundly unjust. She claims that Kyle Duncan can’t be fair because he successfully argued for clients disliked by Mrs. Thompson. And his argument in the Thompson case failed. [UPDATE: A reader points out that Duncan actually won this case. I apologize for the confusion. — RD]

How does that work, anyway? How is it that the positions a lawyer defends in court render him unfit to be a judge? There is no logic here at all. Mrs. Thompson (or her ghostwriter) is relying entirely on guilt by association.

What happened to Mrs. Thompson’s late husband was horrifying. I’m glad he won that case. But that has nothing at all to do with whether or not Kyle Duncan is fit to be a judge. All people — even people we consider bad — deserve the best defense in court they can muster. Lawyers who defend unpopular clients and positions, whether on the Left or the Right, must not be made to fear that their careers will be jeopardized by the popularity of those clients. This is a basic principle that all sides in our democracy should defend.

I hope that the Senate recognizes this left-wing smear for what it is, and approves Kyle Duncan’s nomination. To deny him this seat on the basis that Mrs. Thompson cites would be a terrible precedent to set.

30 Comments (Open | Close)

30 Comments To "Smearing Kyle Duncan"

#1 Comment By The Avipisces On February 8, 2018 @ 6:08 pm

Mrs. Thompson’s hypocrisy is a little too evident. “My causes deserve due process. The causes I disagree with do not deserve due process.” She is rightly upset that members of the legal profession took it upon themselves to settle the outcome of her husbands case outside the courtroom. But would she be equally offended if the defendant was a pro-choice organization? The willingness of many in America, right and left, to quietly misplace their scruples when it comes time to fight for their preferred cause is troubling indeed.

#2 Comment By Patrick On February 8, 2018 @ 6:46 pm

Sounds like another great judicial nominee to me; I actually prefer people who were publicly against Obergefell because they are less likely to turncoat or get wishy washy.

Thanks for all of your hard work, NeverTrumpers. ?

#3 Comment By William M. On February 8, 2018 @ 7:32 pm

I just read the NYT piece and you failed to mention that Mr. Duncan was a lawyer for the prosecutors in Mr. Thompson’s case.

Aside from that, the general argument effectively is that Mr. Duncan can’t be a good judge because he was a good lawyer, which necessitates defending the disreputable. While I am partially inclined to agree with this concept, implementing it would require the entire American judiciary to step down.

#4 Comment By Chris On February 8, 2018 @ 7:44 pm

Every person and every case has legal counsel. Period. That is how our justice system works. Mr Duncan may have personally opposed or disliked the case but did his job. The ability to set aside personal prejudice is ideal for a judge. But what is disturbing is that the New York Times saw fit to publish this? Is Muareen Downd now in charge of editorializing decisions?

#5 Comment By simon94022 On February 8, 2018 @ 7:52 pm

The basic problem of the cultural Left is that they lie. All the time. About everything and everyone.

#6 Comment By Devinicus On February 8, 2018 @ 8:11 pm

Huh, outside the liberal professional elite, I didn’t realize anybody took the New York Times seriously anymore.

#7 Comment By P B On February 8, 2018 @ 8:13 pm

Genuine question; isn’t longstanding US tradition that appointments to the courts are political appointments and that congress can do whatever it wants and refuse to confirm a judge solely because of that judges views? I know that Republicans did that with Obama’s judicial nominees, and that senate democrats responded by removing the filibuster for judicial nominees. Given that our national politics is war by other means, and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future, I don’t see what is wrong with this. It is far preferable to actual bloodshed, and since no one is paying the cost in blood, I don’t see any reason why either side would want to end the cold civil war. It’s just a part of the landscape now, something we have to learn how to live with.

#8 Comment By Durin On February 8, 2018 @ 8:46 pm

“All people — even people we consider bad — deserve the best defense in court they can muster.”

This is a good test of whether someone has earned the the title of Liberal or is just an illiberal Leftist.

I would also say it more strongly – even people that *are* bad.

It is the cases where it is so obvious to me that they are bad that I cannot bring myself to add the words “we consider” where this principle is most needed. Being able to say “we consider” means that you are able to think you might be wrong. Everyone has areas where they reject that possibility.

#9 Comment By sjay On February 8, 2018 @ 9:02 pm

At the risk of being accused of whataboutism, it’s not a tactic that’s confined to the left. It’s been used recently against Hillary Clinton, among others.

#10 Comment By sara On February 8, 2018 @ 9:07 pm

“Smear” is usually used to describe false accusations where facts are “adjusted” or omitted and spun in order to paint a picture far from factual. I don’t see where this woman has done that. She even noted “Mr. Duncan received the Louisiana District Attorneys Association award for outstanding service for his work on the case.” Her conclusion is what you do not agree with but it isn’t presented in a deceptive way. I don’t get it being a “smear job”.

I’ve heard a lot of people both left and right argue this about attorneys, most often people on the right objecting to lawyers who defend criminals. You can explain about how our justice system works until you are blue in the face but they will stick by their guns.

But no, not a smear.

#11 Comment By scotch meg On February 8, 2018 @ 9:43 pm

So… boo on John Adams, who represented the King’s soldiers when they were on trial for the Boston Massacre. Representing the bad guys to the best of one’s ability has a long and honorable history in the United States. Oh, and he got most of them off, too.

#12 Comment By Anon On February 8, 2018 @ 10:03 pm

Rod,

Your excerpting of the article is very unclear. You excerpted the one (and only) culture-war relevant paragraph and fail to mention that the core of the author’s criticism of Duncan was for his representation of corrupt prosecutors who intentionally withheld exculpatory evidence, which nearly resulted in the death of an innocent person.

Also, the Becket Fund is definitely conservative. They’re ecumenical, but they’re also plainly committed to an expansive reading of the Free Exercise Clause (and a narrow reading of the Establishment Clause), which is generally considered the conservative position in American jurisprudence. A quick glance at their website confirms the obvious. It was also founded by a former high-level DOJ official from the Reagan administration; its current CEO is on the board of the Witherspoon Institute, a socially conservative think tank founded by Robert George; and its board of directors is largely populated by social conservatives, including George, Russell Moore, Mary Ann Glendon, Leonard Leo (who is high up in the conservative Federalist Society), and an emeritus general authority of the LDS Church (i.e., one of the top 100 or so leaders of that church).

Even Doug Laycock, who frequently partners with the Becket Fund and who shares a desire for a more expansive reading of the Free Exercise Clause, has noted the Becket Fund’s adoption of more conservative culture-war rhetoric. It’s certainly more ecumenical than ADF, which is expressly Christian (and founded and led almost exclusively by Evangelical Protestants). But it’s certainly a conservative organization.

#13 Comment By Michelle On February 8, 2018 @ 10:45 pm

Well, Trump has argued that he couldn’t get a fair trial in the Trump University lawsuit because the judge was Mexican and therefore automatically biased against him. That’s a smear.

The opinion of a single layperson who doesn’t necssarily understand the role of the judiciary and who opposed the man who defended the prosecutors who destroyed evidence that would have kept her husband off death row–not a smear. Thinking that Senate Republicans, who need zero votes from Democrats to confirm this guy, will vote down his nomination because of her opinion–laughable.

#14 Comment By Robert Levine On February 8, 2018 @ 11:01 pm

iWhat happened to Mrs. Thompson’s late husband was horrifying. I’m glad he won that case. But that has nothing at all to do with whether or not Kyle Duncan is fit to be a judge. All people — even people we consider bad — deserve the best defense in court they can muster. Lawyers who defend unpopular clients and positions, whether on the Left or the Right, must not be made to fear that their careers will be jeopardized by the popularity of those clients. This is a basic principle that all sides in our democracy should defend.

She has ample cause to be bitter. Would you expect the family of a rape victim to praise the lawyer for the accused rapist?

But, more to the point, you are arguing that Duncan’s advocacy for specific clients shouldn’t be held against him, when, in fact, that advocacy is precisely the reason he was nominated for the bench in the first place. Do you really think he would have been nominated by Trump if he’d been a lawyer for the ACLU?

And, at the risk of being accused of “whataboutism,” every judicial race where I live, when one of the candidates is a defense lawyer, features wall-to-wall campaign ads attacking that candidate for his/her advocacy for clients who have been accused of bad acts. Most of those ads are run by conservative candidates. I suspect that’s a tactic as old as the Republic, if not older. I seem to remember ads against Hillary Clinton that make precisely that argument. What I don’t recall is any outrage from the Right about that “right-wing smear.”

#15 Comment By Anne On February 8, 2018 @ 11:16 pm

This big “smear” you’re referring to consists of one woman’s opinion — noted as such by the NYT — that Kyle Duncan’s presence on the circuit court would send a message to prosecutors everywhere, including those in the state of Louisiana, that winning at all costs “remains the path to success.” Even more troubling, it would put him in a position to rule on cases involving former clients (all prosecutors). That seems a totally legitimate and pertinent concern, especially considering what Louisiana prosecutors did to her husband.

I mean, by withholding evidence, they sent the man to prison for 18 years for a crime he didn’t commit! A court may have finally exonerated him, but Duncan’s advocacy got every one of the prosecutors whose actions unjustly sent him there off. Now, other prosecutors, as well as several who were involved in her husband’s case, have cases pending in circuit court, and Duncan could be confirmed to sit on that court to hear them.

Forget all those other cases and causes he’s been involved with; they don’t necessarily say anything about judicial character or conflicts of interest. But what Mrs. Thompson points out about these “overzealous prosecution” cases would be enough to give me pause were I voting to put him in a position to rule on such cases. Even if, like Duncan’s own defense of those prosecutors, his appointment to federal circuit court can be defended on a technicality, doing so shoots the principle of avoiding even the appearance of impropriety clean out of the water. In my humble opinion.

#16 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 8, 2018 @ 11:31 pm

Well, I had similar reasons for opposing the nomination of Elena Kagen to the Supreme Court. She was on record when working for the Justice Department as taking a position that the First Amendment could not be invoked against her client (the federal government) without first weighing the government’s interest in taking adverse action against the speech in question. It would take me a while to find the exact wording and context after these many years, but it was a real doozy. And I thought anyone who made that argument on behalf of their client should not serve on the Supreme Court of the United States.

I wrote to one of my senators about that, and got back a boiler plate reply proudly reciting that Senator Feingold thought it was very important to confirm Kagen. I still voted for him, even knocked on doors for him, have little respect for the Republican who replaced him… but it was the first time I had some real doubts about Senator Feingold.

So I have some sympathy with the specific criticism, although not with deeming him unfit because he worked for the Beckett Foundation. (I favor an expansive reading of both the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause, which makes me a thorn in the side of both conservatives and liberals, not to mention social democrats).

Lawyers whose experience has been on one “side” of the law, such as prosecutors or state’s attorneys, often, not always, make poor judges. Similarly, lawyers whose work is dedicated to a specific class of clients. Ideally a judge would have five or more years as a prosecutor, five or more years in criminal defense, and five or more years in primarily civil law with a broad variety of clients. Specialists should remain in their specialty. It takes a broad overview to be a really good judge.

#17 Comment By grumpy realist On February 9, 2018 @ 7:41 am

Umm…weren’t we on the left having a cow over the Right having a hissy fit about some of the people Hilary Clinton represented as a lawyer? And making all these comments about how everyone deserved legal representation, even if a child molester?

Seems to me that if it’s ok for Hilary Clinton to represent a child molester, then it’s ok for Kyle Duncan to represent an allegedly corrupt prosecutor.

My question is–does the ABA recommend him? If so, then I don’t see what the fuss is.

Does Ms. Laverne Thompson have ANY legal background at all? (too lazy to check.) This seems the sort of emotional knee-jerk attack produced by someone who totally fails to understand how the American system of law works. I suggest a semester in law school be required before she puts pen to paper again.

[NFR: The ABA gave him a strong recommendation. — RD]

#18 Comment By PeterK On February 9, 2018 @ 7:58 am

William M. wrote “I just read the NYT piece and you failed to mention that Mr. Duncan was a lawyer for the prosecutors in Mr. Thompson’s case.”

well you must have skimmed what RD wrote since you missed this part;

” And hewas appointed at times by the Louisiana state Attorney General to represent the state in litigation [including representing the state in John Thompson’s lawsuit against Orleans Parish, I ought to have made clear].”

#19 Comment By Steve On February 9, 2018 @ 8:11 am

Can someone provide a link to a comprehensive summary of the case? Between Ms. Thompson’s letter and the blogger’s rather confusing restatement of her letter, there’s a lot of context missing.

For instance, in what professional capacity was Mr. Duncan serving at the time? He was working for the Texas Solicitor General’s office but also did work for the Louisiana Attorney General’s office?

How did Kyle Duncan’s argument “fail” when he won the case at the Supreme Court? Also, was there a second (state) court case at which Mr. Thompson received financial compensation?

Sorry if I’m being dense but there’s a lot of detail missing from both the original letter and the summary of it.

#20 Comment By Tim F. On February 9, 2018 @ 10:55 am

His wife is upset that that Kyle Duncan was able to prevent Thompson from getting any compensation. Is the counter argument that as a lawyer he had no moral culpability? There seems to be a rules based ethic that I sometimes encounter among conservatives, that those in authority have no culpability as long as they were following the rules. Fortunately most conservatives I know do not follow this, it represents a very fundamental moral dividing line. I have tended to support the nomination of conservative judges but their track record on many abuses of authority is poor, and certainly a reminder to me that these people do not share my values.

[NFR: Do you believe that a lawyer who successfully defends an accused murderer is morally at fault if his defense succeeds? Do you believe that Johnnie Cochran is in some sense guilty of Nicole Brown Simpson’s and Ron Goldman’s murder? I think Cochran participated in a travesty of justice, but I cannot hold him *morally* culpable for that. He was doing the job he was hired to do, a job that is important to our system of justice. There is no way around it. — RD]

#21 Comment By Coleman On February 9, 2018 @ 1:09 pm

When I was in college looking for extra-curricular activities, I attended a few meetings of the mock trial team. At the first meeting, they were putting together a clear, logical case for the defense. For the second meeting, they had a successful lawyer come in to give them advice. The lawyer came in and pretty much said, “You’re doing this all wrong.” Given the details of the case, the way to win was going to be to try to discredit the witnesses, make them look unreliable, etc. Logic and airtight arguments had nothing to do with it.

And that’s the way it is. I agree that that “win at all costs” is not an ideal path to justice, but that’s the way the system works; if you want a judge who was not a “win at all costs,” you’re going to have to elect someone who has never been a lawyer. The article is a little slippery here: by focusing on a case where the lawyer was defending lawyers, the writer can elide the defendants’ destruction of evidence (win at all costs OUTSIDE the law) with Duncans’ representation of them (which, like almost all lawyers, seems to have been ‘win by whatever (legal) approach will win.’).

One final point: the problem with this article to my mind lies almost entirely in the NYT decision to publish it, rather than any fault on the part of the author, who feels exactly how I would expect someone to feel in that situation.

#22 Comment By TA On February 9, 2018 @ 3:02 pm

the Becket Fund is not a conservative organization

That is hilarious and absurd.

Let’s take an example. When the Quakers embraced same sex marriage as part of their Faith and Practice (a very rough equivalent of their catechism and liturgy), did the Becket Fund sue the government to ensure that an accommodation would be made for their religious practices within the law? It’s a clear case of religious liberty; why not advocate for that.

The Becket Fund is for religious liberty if (and only if!) the result of the ruling aligns with socially and religiously conservative aims. That’s totally their right, and they have taken some cases outside of conservative Christianity. However, to think they are anything but an organization by and for religious conservatives is nuts.

#23 Comment By Robert On February 9, 2018 @ 5:23 pm

[NFR: The ABA gave him a strong recommendation. — RD]

Not exactly. The majority of the ABA committee gave him their highest rating – “well qualified.” A minority of the committee rated him “qualified.”

By contrast, the last two (at least) Democratic nominees and last three (at least (Republican) nominees to the Supreme Court received unanimous “well qualified” ratings from the ABA committee, if I recall correctly.

#24 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 9, 2018 @ 6:42 pm

When the Quakers embraced same sex marriage as part of their Faith and Practice (a very rough equivalent of their catechism and liturgy), did the Becket Fund sue the government to ensure that an accommodation would be made for their religious practices within the law?

Was the government in any way infringing the ability of the Quakers to teach or live by that provision of their faith? Bringing a lawsuit requires a party with standing who has suffered an actual injury. What injury to their free exercise did the Quakers suffer at the hands of the government?

#25 Comment By P B On February 9, 2018 @ 11:43 pm

I would make the argument that Duncan’s defense of crooked prosecutors is something damning. Sure, it is a good principle that everyone have good legal counsel. However, who polices prosecutors? The fact that Duncan didn’t see the actions of the prosecutors as so damaging to the profession, and in such great violation of ethical duty that he would be honor bound not to be associated with them in any way is troubling. As a lawyer, why would you want to associate with and defend lawyers who bring such discredit to the entire profession? Sure, they deserve counsel, but do they deserve your counsel? And finally, they are lawyers themselves. I don’t see the harm to society if lawyers accused of criminally abusing their position of authority are effectively forced to defend themselves in court. Frankly, lawyers should ostracize any lawyer who engages in behavior that is even close to this manner, whether or not they technically commited a crime. The fact that Duncan does not view the profession as one that holds its members to elevated moral obligations is worrying. The fact that he seems to personally have no problem with associating with people who discredit the legal profession and discredit the moral authority of the justice system is also very concerning for someone nominated to the bench. I think that this would be obvious of Duncan was a lawyer for the mob. In Duncan’s case unfortunately the criminal racket was the prosecutor’s office, which in all truth is even worse. But in any case, there is a difference between a defense lawyer who defends clients accused of crimes and one who works with clients to help them find loopholes in the justice system to commit crimes with impunity , which is the real role of a mob lawyer. Duncan appears to be a mob lawyer. (Not sure that I really believe this argument, but thought it would be fun to try to make a case for why Duncan’s actions make him unfit for the bench).

#26 Comment By TA On February 10, 2018 @ 1:13 am

@Siarlys

Noting this mirrors arguments that Beckett has used when arguing it’s cases, not necessarily arguments that I would make…

Freedom of worship is a necessary, but insufficient, portion of Freedom of Religion. Religious Freedom does not end at the doors of our houses of worship, it extends into the entirety of our lives. According to the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the government must strive to make accommodations so as to not burden one religion over another. Specifically, many Quaker marriages are not allowed the same governmental benefits and rights granted under the law as secular, Catholic, or other married couples.

The government cannot apply a law of general applicability to treat one religious practice differently than another unless there is 1) a compelling governmental interest to disadvantage that religious practice and 2) the current method for enforcing that interest is the least restrictive rule possible.

Marriage, along with its associated ceremony and pair bonding, hold deep religious significance —
not only to Quakers, but to virtually all religions. This sacrament of religion and its manifestation in the way that pair bonded couples live their lives is core to the dictates of the way religious people structure their lives and faith.

Given this centrality of marriage to religious practice and adherence, the government is placing an overwhelming burden on some Quaker couples by continuing to discriminate against them based on their religious practices. Moreover, accommodating same sex couples under existing marriage structures is a simple matter of allowing two individuals who could otherwise be married in any other secular or religious ceremony to have their marriage be legally recognized. This means the current rules dictating recognition of married couples fail both a religious liberty test and the rule simplicity test.

(You can, of course, agree or disagree with this line of reasoning. However, Beckett cannot disagree with it without rejecting the exact same arguments it has made in many other cases.)

#27 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 10, 2018 @ 6:08 pm

TA, your latest effort to express yourself is so meandering that I can’t tell whether you are for or against the Beckett Fund, and why or why not. I also can’t tell if you want more freedom of religion, or less, and for what end. Try reading what you wrote, with a red pencil in hand, and then try to write a second draft that would make sense to someone not already resident in your own mind. Maybe even a third draft. Your claim to have mirrored a Beckett Fund argument doesn’t hold water, and your recitation of legal fundamentals is so disorganized it would put any jury to sleep.

#28 Comment By Tim F. On February 10, 2018 @ 9:34 pm

[NFR: Do you believe that a lawyer who successfully defends an accused murderer is morally at fault if his defense succeeds? Do you believe that Johnnie Cochran is in some sense guilty of Nicole Brown Simpson’s and Ron Goldman’s murder? I think Cochran participated in a travesty of justice, but I cannot hold him *morally* culpable for that. He was doing the job he was hired to do, a job that is important to our system of justice. There is no way around it. — RD]

This argument is valid but not typically applied to people in positions of authority defending the state. As an example, we may regard it acceptable for a lawyer to defend a client he believes is guilty but is it equally acceptable for a prosecutor to try to convict a defendant they believe is probably innocent? Seeing how comfortable some are with what happened here reminds me why, despite most people considering me a conservative, I will never be one.

#29 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 11, 2018 @ 9:07 pm

As an example, we may regard it acceptable for a lawyer to defend a client he believes is guilty but is it equally acceptable for a prosecutor to try to convict a defendant they believe is probably innocent?

It is well established jurisprudence, although often honored in the breach, that the state, or the United States, wins when justice is done in its courtrooms, not when the prosecution wins its case. Prosecutors absolutely have the duty to dismiss charges when there is good cause to believe a defendant is innocent. A woman or man who does not evidence understanding of this principle is a very poor choice to serve as a judge.

#30 Comment By Finklestein On February 14, 2018 @ 10:24 pm

It’s worse than you make out.

Mr. Duncan did not represent the prosecutors, he represented the government that employed those prosecutors (the DA’s office) in a Section 1983 case which concerned whether that employer (and the taxpayer) would be liable for the misconduct of those prosecutors.

The specific question was whether the DA’s office had a duty under Section 1983 to “train” their prosecutors in their Brady obligations. The ultimate ruling was that they did not, absent a pattern of conduct which would put the DA’s Office on notice that there was a problem. After all, attorneys are professionals who must pass the bar exam and are subject to continuing education requirements. It was not an unreasonable position and it was adopted by a majority of the Supreme Court.

The NYT piece is an ugly smear.