Time For A Blogger Ethics Panel!


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.
shim-8697428The professionalism committee plans to hold a closed-door meeting April 1 at the behest of association president Carlos Llorente.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Does this strike anyone else as slightly bone-headed?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.”
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When asked what is specifically offensive about the blog, Llorente said he would withhold comment until he hears from the professionalism committee.

Oy.

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.