Lawyers: Would You Have a Convicted Felon Represent you?

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For your information, Sa DiMasi is the foremr speaker of the Massachusetts House-now indicted on several federal corrupton charges.
His lawyer is a convicted felon.
What sort of inference would a jury draw, from someone who selected a convicted criminal as a lawyer?

Probably none. His lawyer’s conviction isn’t admissable as evidence and shouldn’t be considered by the jury.

I thought a felony conviction causes your law license to be revoked. Isn’t there an ethics clause or something?

Disbarment is usually not an automatic thing, and it’s always possible to apply to be readmitted. I gather this attorney was disbarred in 1990, and readmitted in 1995. Often, the bar association doesn’t have to make its workings public, so no one ever knows why an attorney was disbarred or readmitted. This is just another illustration of the inherent problem with any self-policing profession.

Exactly, unless the lawyer was particularly infamous the jury would never know.

Do you have a cite for that, at least with respect to Massachusetts?

According to this website, discipline of lawyers in Massachusetts is within the jurisdiction of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. The Court in turn has created two subordinate bodies, the Board of Bar Overseers and the Office of Bar Counsel to provide independent investigations and evaluation of complaints against lawyers. The Bar Counsel investigates complaints and prosecutes them; the Board hears the complaints and can discipline a lawyer if the complaint is made out, or refer the complaint to the Court if it thinks the most serious discipline is warranted, which only the Court can do.

In addition, those decisions are made public, with all decisions since 1999 being online:

I don’t know. How would the jury know this?

Anyway, are you saying it’s impossible to rehabilitate a lawyer who’s been convicted of something?

I have a friend who was disbarred several years ago over 3 felonies (an offense of moral turpitude, no less, plus representing herself as an active member of the bar when she wasn’t and another one), and spent 7 years getting her license back. She is an excellent attorney and I would not hesitate to have her represent me in an action.

Lots of people are convicted felons- you probably know a few. :slight_smile:

This is an example from a random CA bar record-

So yeah, you can be suspended, disbarred, reinstated… it all depends on the individual, the crime, and their commitment to jump through a godawful number of hoops to get their license back.

To the first question: Because certain newspapers are reporting it?

I personally think anyone who knows about it will be influenced one way or the other. They’ll either take it into account, or go too far the other way and assume the felon is right.

People hire lawyers for all sorts of reasons. SOMETIMES, you hire a guy who can win in a court case. Other times, you hire a guy you think can keep you OUT of court!

Take the (in)famous Roy Cohn. Tom Wolfe wrote a great piece about him, in which he described what a hopelessly bad trial lawyer Roy Cohn was. If a client’s case ever wound up in court, the client was sunk.

So, why did the client hire Cohn in the first place? Because Cohn had all kinds of connections, and he knew how to work the so-called “Favor Bank.”

You hired Roy Cohn because you believed (or hoped) that he had a friend (or a frend of a friend) that he could call to make your problem go away without ever going to court.

It’s a safe bet that the former Speaker has similar connections, and knows all kinds of people who can make problems go away. If he knows somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who owes somebody a favor, and can help you out quietly, behind the scenes, he could be a very valuable asset, no?

I was under the impression that the legal profession carried some level of ethics with it, that someone convicted of serious crimes would be considered of dubious honesty. The mere fact that the (hugely corrupt) ex-speaker would select a man equally corrupt, is somewhat troubling to me.:confused: