Monday, September 26, 2011

No moral turpitude?

A quote from some CLE reading today commenting on the new California Rules of Professional Responsibility:

The ABA abandoned the concept of “moral turpitude” over twenty-five years ago when it adopted the first iteration of the Model Rules. The justification for removing the concept of “moral turpitude” is found in Comment [2] to Model Rule 8.4:

Many kinds of illegal conduct reflect adversely on fitness to practice law, such as offenses involving fraud and the offense of willful failure to file an income tax return. However, some kinds of offenses carry no such implication. Traditionally, the distinction was drawn in terms of offenses involving “moral turpitude.” That concept can be construed to include offenses concerning some matters of personal morality, such as adultery and comparable offenses, that have no specific connection to fitness for the practice of law. Although a lawyer is personally answerable to the entire criminal law, a lawyer should be professionally answerable only for offenses that indicate lack of those characteristics relevant to law practice. Offenses involving violence, dishonesty, breach of trust, or serious interference with the administration of justice are in that category.

I find it funny that "adultery and comparable offenses" are not considered "offenses involving...dishonesty, [or] breach of trust." Sadly, such is the world.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkeness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  -Isaiah 5:20

This seems like an especially good scriptures for lawyers (Christ addressed them not infrequently!):

O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.  -Matthew 12:34-35

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