With all the crazy and sometimes illegal doings in Broward lately, I can't believe the Broward County Bar Association has decided to devote time and effort to investigating a blog:
A Broward County Bar Association committee will meet to determine whether the legal blog JAABlog — the premiere place for courthouse gossip — meets its professional standards.Does this strike anyone else as slightly bone-headed?
The professionalism committee plans to hold a closed-door meeting April 1 at the behest of association president Carlos Llorente.
JAABlog, run by criminal defense attorney Bill Gelin, posts quick takes on courthouse flaps, urges lawyers to run for election against incumbents, rails against a planned courthouse and calls for reform in a system that imprisons a disproportionate number of black people.
Since the blog’s launch in 2006, Gelin has become a fixture at high-profile hearings and meetings. He said he has not been told whether he will be allowed to attend the committee meeting.
Llorente said he did not really pay attention to the blog until he learned its comment section was populated by anonymous posts, ostensibly from the site’s heaviest readership: lawyers and judges.
The association’s rules of professional standards state lawyers are not allowed to criticize judges, opposing counsel, parties or witnesses because it could cast the justice system in a bad light.
Here's the proferred explanation:
“I have no problem with him being a journalist,” Llorente said. “If he wants to be an expose-type journalist, so be it. But do it as a journalist. Don’t pose as a lawyer with an inside knowledge.”Oy.
When asked what is specifically offensive about the blog, Llorente said he would withhold comment until he hears from the professionalism committee.
Let me offer a prediction: by convening such a panel the BCBA likely will do more to discredit and denigrate their own organization than anything some goofball could ever post anonymously on a blog.