Judge Expressly Orders Lawyer to Violate Rules of Professional Conduct

It is not uncommon for public defenders in Louisiana to complain that being forced to handle an excessive criminal-defense caseload violates Louisiana Rule of Professional Conduct 1.1. That rule requires them to provide “competent” representation to their clients.1 When a Missouri public defender lodged a similar complaint, the presiding judge entered the following order:

This Court, having heard [the public defender’s] assertion that he is unable to provide competent representation [to his many clients because his] total open cases currently number 68, [the public defender] is ordered to violate Missouri Supreme Court Rule 4, and enter a full and not-limited entry of appearance as attorney of record in the above-numbered cause.

See Missouri v. Redacted Defendant (Sep. 18, 2018). At least the judge was honest about what he was doing.

Click here for additional coverage by the ABA Journal.

  1. Such lawyers also contend that excessive caseloads threaten their clients’ right to the “effective assistance of counsel” guaranteed by the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments.
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