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2015.7: Justin Keiter

[A]ll trial lawyers who make improper arguments…have no business lamenting the public’s low perception of lawyers. They need only look in the mirror.

I wasn’t even very hard on him: I just republished part of a dissenting opinion criticizing a closing argument that Justin Keiter had made, and connected Keiter’s name with it.

Keiter took the criticism hard. I was riding on the elevator today when Justin got on with a little smile on his face. He looked around, saw me, stopped smiling, faced front and got off the elevator at the next stop. (Other people on the elevator noticed. They commented.) A year later he can’t even bear to look at me. Judges criticize prosecutors, but almost always without using their names. I won’t guess at Justice Jennings’s motivation for not naming Justin Keiter in the opinion. Apparently there’s no reason the public should know who the lawyer responsible for “egregious misconduct” (Jennings’s words) was. Jennings wrote:

Indeed, the majority’s opinion in this case will actually encourage such improper behavior and ensure that it continues.

He is probably right—the majority’s opinion will encourage improper behavior. But the dissent that doesn’t name the perpetrator won’t do much to stop it.


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