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January 26th, 2007

Attorney Sanctioned For Disrespect

Sometimes emotions get in the way of legal argument. Which apparently happened here. From the ABA Journal comes this cautionary tale of a law professor that became “terribly angry” when he lost in the Court of Appeals because of factual errors and appealed to the Utah Supreme Court.

Sanctioned for ‘Disrespect’
Utah high court tosses case because of inappropriate appeals brief

Anger may cost a Utah law professor some $17,000 in attorney fees, and he believes the punishment is just.

Yet Boyd Kimball Dyer of Salt Lake City also thinks the Utah Court of Appeals was wrong and his case should be reheard.

A unanimous Utah Supreme Court says it won’t consider Dyer’s arguments because his briefs included “a substantial amount of material that is offensive, inappropriate and disrespectful” of the appeals court. In a Jan. 12 decision, the supreme court struck Dyer’s briefs, affirmed the appellate ruling against his client and assessed attorney fees. Peters v. Pine Meadow Ranch Home Association, No. 20050806.

In briefs filed with the Utah Supreme Court, the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law professor wrote that “good judges never fabricate evidence,” and that the appellate court opinion was “no innocent mistake.”

“So, if a court fabricates evidence, whether intentionally, negligently or through innocent mistake, it destroys the moral premise of the legal system,” Dyer wrote. “A judge who fabricates evidence, even from a sincere motive to do justice in a particular case, has no moral standing whatsoever.”

The Utah Supreme Court cited those statements when it denied Dyer’s petition in the consolidated appeal — on the basis of his behavior rather than on the merits.

There’s more at the link, including the Utah Supreme Court’s comments.

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