01-08-2015, 12:52 PM #1
Atty with history of suspension files Bar complaint against St. Louis DA McCulloch
The hubris and hypocrisy here is nothing short of astonishing, IMO. IMO, the reason she had to start her own nonprofit "ethics" group is that she couldn't get work any more because of her history of ethics violations and license suspension. And we're supposed to take her seriously?
Link to documents about her license suspension order:
Woman seeking discipline for McCulloch had attorney license suspended
A former attorney who runs the nonprofit that on Monday brought an ethics complaint against St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch had her own law license suspended for three years beginning in 2007.
Christi Griffin, who now runs The Ethics Project, based in St. Louis, was in 2004 accused of benefiting from the purchase of her client's property in a deal the Chief Disciplinary Counsel labeled exploitive.It is the panel's opinion that (Griffin), a sophisticated, well educated attorney, took advantage of a substantially less educated, less sophisticated, elderly individual..."
McCulloch disciplinary complaint filed by Christi Griffin (11 pages)
01-08-2015, 01:32 PM #2Retired from law, the final chapter of my career gave me an opportunity to display the exceptional degree of integrity by which I practiced law for 23 years, unequivocally proven throughout an extensive four year examination of my record. That challenge to my ethics and integrity allowed me to not only demonstrate my ethics but also my perseverance, unwaivering strength and a superior knowledge and application of state and federal laws that could be surmounted only by unprincipled abuse of power.
Ummm.....talk about inflating your own qualifications....did she not notice that she was suspended by the state bar, as well as various courts, for ethics violations?
It doesn't appear she ever applied to have her license reinstated, so she was effectively disbarred--- she prefers to characterize that and mislead the public that she is merely "retired".
And THIS particular professionally disgraced woman is somehow qualified now as a "citizen" to lead a group of 6 citizens to file a complaint criticizing a sitting District Attorney? Yeah, that's rich.
I hope Chief Disciplinary Counsel Alan Pratzel takes no action on this nuisance complaint. This is nothing more than an activist publicity stunt, IMO.
01-08-2015, 02:23 PM #3Registered User
- Join Date
- May 2012
If about the 1 of a half dozen people...yepp...it seems she's certainly had her issues in life. I didn't read anything that led to her suspension because my interest in it is next to none.
If about the complaint against the prosecutors, I had suggested in the other thread that he may very well be facing disciplinary actions for what he and his office had done. Ironically, I think I even cited some of the rules used in this complaint. The background of the one individual will have zero bearing on whether or not the Missouri Bar finds any grounds for the complaint. They will investigate it independently and McCulloch and the others will have a chance to respond to the complaint. The Missouri Bar will then make it's decision. If, and that's a big if, they were to find any discipline is appropriate, I highly doubt it would rise to the level of a suspension. They may receive a reprimand and that may be about it.
One final thought, and consistent with my belief that LE should never be in charge of investigating LE, I also question lawyers investigating lawyers. As with LE, I don't know the answer or how it should be changed (maybe include civilian members of the review board along with attorneys who can explain the legal intricacies), but I do think it should be changed as well.
01-09-2015, 04:49 PM #4
Both, actually! There are 2 issues as I see it-- the integrity, reputation, and veracity of the one writing and organizing the complaint, as well as validity (or not) of the complaint details. (This post is going to address the former, though I'm happy to discuss the latter if desired.)
The first question I have to ask, is why hasn't a reputable, respected law professor or other attorney with a sound background of scholarly work, and a solid professional reputation, authored this complaint? That would instantly lend a lot of credibility to the complaint. Why this woman, with her troubled professional history, and extremist opinions? That distracts from the validity of the complaint.
This woman has assertively promoted herself as an "ethicist" with "integrity", and even started her own "vanity" press to publish her activist/ extremist opinions and book, after having her license suspended by the state Bar for egregious ethics violations, and being reprimanded by the courts she commonly practiced in. I think that's highly relevant. She is not widely respected as either a law scholar, or a law practitioner. She's not just an "outlier"-- she has committed egregious ethical misconduct. That's a valid area to question and criticize.
She could have quietly and anonymously ghost written this complaint for another group, and avoided all criticism and scrutiny of her personal situation. She has put herself out there as the author and organizer of this complaint, so that's fair game to criticize her, IMO. It actually takes a lot of clearly egregious behavior to get a state bar to suspend a lawyer's license-- it's not an easy or quick process, which is good for ALL attorneys and the public. Shall I also mention here that Dorian Johnson's first attorney, Freeman Bosley Jr., had to step down because he was suspended by the Bar?
I don't think the Chief Disciplinary Counsel is mandated or obligated to take any action on this, from what I've read. He or she in that role is permitted to exercise some judgment and discretion as to whether the complaint merits investigation. As an example, some disgruntled criminals (or civilian plaintiffs) unhappy with their guilty verdict file complaints against their attorneys as a way of "getting back" at the attorney for not "winning" them a not guilty verdict.
01-09-2015, 06:31 PM #5
Here is the website for the Missouri Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel. Lots of good info for the public, as well as lawyers.
How is my complaint processed?
Your complaint will be referred to a Staff Counsel at the OCDC, who will evaluate whether there are any issues which could form the basis for a disciplinary investigation. Complaints are reviewed and processed by Staff Counsel in the order in which they are received. The OCDC attempts to respond to each complaint in writing within approximately four weeks of its receipt.
If a file is opened, the matter is either investigated by the OCDC office in Jefferson City or referred to one of the regional disciplinary offices located in Kansas City, St. Louis or Springfield. The attorney complained about is typically notified of the complaint and given an opportunity to respond to the allegations contained in the complaint. If, and when a response is received, the complainant will generally be given an opportunity to review and reply to the attorney’s response. After any additional investigation deemed necessary and appropriate is completed, a determination is made as to whether a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct has occurred.
Click here for a disciplinary procedure flowchart.
In other words, they will respond to the filer of the complaint, but not necessarily do an investigation/ open a file for every complaint, unless they believe the complaint is valid and will lead to disciplinary action.
They could just send a letter thanking the group of filers for their concerns, stating that they don't feel that an investigation is warranted at this time. Or they could open a file and start the process. I think, personally, it's more likely they won't do an investigation-- which, if this happens, will be publicly complained about (more publicity, more opportunities for interviews, more manufactured outrage, etc.) It's a "win/ win" for Griffin and her group, from a publicity standpoint, and that's why they filed it, IMO.
Griffin and her group actually stand to gain more immediate (in 4 weeks) publicity from the OCDC declining to investigate, than agreeing. If they investigate, it's months to years of complete silence about the investigation from the OCDC. If the OCDC declines, the filers and their supporters can then frame it as more "unfairness" and "corruption", feeding the ongoing frenzy.
01-09-2015, 06:34 PM #6Registered User
- Join Date
- May 2012
As for the substance of the complaint, I believe it was someone associated with SLU's law school (maybe current/former professor or dean) or it might have been a former Supreme Court Justice in Missouri, I just can't remember, but they were one of the first to publicly call into question McCulloch's action. As for why he would or would not author the complaint himself, I see that as a problem too. If he's willing to say it in the media, why not to the Missouri Bar. It's kind of like how many speeding tickets do cops write to other cops? Next to none. I see the problem here with lawyers the same way. One looking out for another.
I'm really not sure how these complaints are handled, but it was my understanding that they are all "investigated" to some extent. That may be as simple as letting the attorney know and asking for their response and closing their file if there is nothing to it, like those instances of "getting back" like you talk about. But it is still them that will determine the legitimacy of the complaint, regardless of whether it was filed by a fraud or by a saint. Personally, if I thought there was enough there to create headaches for McCulloch before any of this came to light, I am fairly certain the Missouri Bar isn't going to simply sweep it under the rug. But, like I said before, I don't think any of the allegations amount to anything that would warrant more than a slap on the wrist in the form of an admonition to no put on knowingly false evidence. End of case.
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