Post Process

Everything to do with E-discovery & ESI

Case Blurb: Benedict College; Attorney’s role as Officers of the Court

Posted by rjbiii on December 18, 2009

A primer on the American adversary system appears in order. Our system of dispute resolution and justice rests on the “unshakable foundation that truth is the object of the system’s process which is designed for the purpose of dispensing justice.” United States v. Shaffer Equipment Co., 11 F.3d 450, 457 (4th Cir. 1993). It is a process dependent on:the adversarial presentation of evidence, precedent and custom, and argument to reasoned conclusions–all directed with unwavering effort to what, in good faith, is believed to be true on matters material to the disposition. Even the slightest accommodation of deceit or a lack of candor in any material respect quickly erodes the validity of the process. As soon as the process falters in that respect, the people are then justified in abandoning support for the system in favor of one where honesty is preeminent.Id. The court does not view favorably any attempt “to play fast and loose” with our judicial system. United States v. Levasseur, 846 F.2d 786, 792 (1st Cir.1988).

Too often a lawyer loses sight of his primary responsibility as an officer of the court. Wagner v. Williford, 804 F2d 1012, 1017 (7th Cir. 1986). Zealous advocacy can lead to obstruction where it impedes the court’s search for truth. Counsel has a basic ethical obligation to be “scrupulously candid and truthful” in his representations to the court. More practically, if a lawyer is to be an effective advocate, where his reputation for veracity is suspect, he will lack the confidence of the court in matters serving his client. United States v. Thoreen, 653 F.2d 1332 (Wash. App. 1981). This court concurs with the proposition that the judicial system can provide “no harbor for clever devices to divert the search, mislead opposing counsel or the court, or cover up that which is necessary for justice in the end.” Shaffer, 11 F.3d at 457-458.

Benedict College v. Nat’l Credit Sys., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106742 at *17-18 (D.S.C. Nov. 16, 2009)

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